How Are Districts Using State Pre-school Funds?

NJTV News | February 13, 2019 | Education
Officials in two very different districts are figuring out how best to make use of their money from Trenton

Expanding preschool offerings in public schools in New Jersey has been a high priority for Gov. Phil Murphy. Last month, he announced a second round of funding under the Preschool Education Expansion Aid (PEEA) program, which will benefit 2,320 children for the school year starting in September.

Two very different towns are among the recipients of those funds. And officials in each are deciding out how to use their funds to expand the preschool program in their districts.

Berkeley Township in Ocean County got $2.2 million, the highest amount allocated, and Absecon in Atlantic County, the lowest, at approximately $189,000.

“For us, it changed our program dramatically because a couple years ago we only had half-day tuition programs and half-day special education programs,” said Amy Coppinger, supervisor of the Berkeley preschool program.

Absecon Superintendent Dan Cooley says his district’s 90 eligible students need this foundation.

“Students are expected to read and write halfway through kindergarten. We need them to interact with their classmates and their teachers and follow rules and regulations and yet have fun through play,” Cooley said.

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