Assemblymen James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) and Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) held an event today along with fellow legislators and local school officials to advocate for universal, full-day kindergarten and discuss legislation they are re-introducing to expand aid for schools transitioning to full-day kindergarten (A.1625). They are pushing to include the proposal in this years state budget.
There are still six districts - out of nearly 700 - across New York State that currently do not have full-day kindergarten programs, including Washingtonville and North Rockland. The other districts are Shenendehowa in Saratoga County and Pittsford, Brighton and West Irondequoit in Monroe County.
Early education is critical for children, Assemblyman Skoufis said. Full-day kindergarten has been shown to improve academic achievement throughout the rest of their lives. Yet, there are still students across the state who dont have access to this fundamental building block of their education.
In six New York State school districts, your kindergarten education time depends on what neighborhood you live in. With all the evidence of early childhood education importance, this is unacceptable. Our funding incentive must be part of this years state budget to ensure every kid gets the start they deserve, said Assemblyman Zebrowski.
Investing in education means investing in the future of our state, which is why we must start as early as possible with our youngest New Yorkers. We must ensure that all school districts have the means to provide this option so that all students in New York have the same opportunity for success no matter where they live, said Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle. I am proud to support this bill that in turn supports our children by giving them the tools necessary to reach their full potential. Thank you to Assemblymen Zebrowski and Skoufis, and all my colleagues in the legislature for their continued commitment to expanding opportunity for our students."
The legislation will provide five years of funding to schools that have half-day kindergarten to transition to a full-day program. The aid would be equal to the current conversion aid in the first year, then 80 percent in the second, 60 percent in the third, 40 percent in the fourth and 20 percent in the fifth.
Theres so much were doing every day in kindergarten that gets children ready to learn, grow and take on the challenges of school, said Superintendent Roy Reese of Washingtonville Central School District. A half day is just not enough time to get our students on track for 21st-century learning.