Asw. Solages and Sen. Martinez Secure Funding for a Regional Pre-K Technical Assistance Center on Long Island

Solages & Martinez secure $475K to help expand pre-k on Long Island

Albany, NY Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages and Senator Monica R. Martinez secured $475K in funding for a Regional Pre-Kindergarten Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) on Long Island. The RTAC will implement best practices, tether Pre-K and early childhood education community programs to the K through 12 educational system, and serve as a model for New York State.

“I am excited to announce that the New York State FY 2019-20 budget includes monies for a Regional Pre-K Technical Assistance Center on Long Island to strengthen the coordination of early childhood education,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, “Pre-K is critical to ensuring that all children have an equitable start and it saves money in both the short and long-term by significantly reducing achievement gaps. I would also like to extend my appreciation to the coalition of advocates whose persistence made this possible.”

“I am pleased the Senate Democrats were able to secure $250,000 to fund Regional Pre-Kindergarten Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) on Long Island. Successful and well-funded pre-kindergarten programs encourage children to be active learners, to ask questions, and to approach the world as critical thinkers and problem solvers. I will continue to fight for the needs of the Third Senatorial district, especially when it comes to our children and their future,” said Senator Monica R. Martinez.

“We are extremely excited and grateful that our Long Island legislators, thought leaders and stakeholders were able to work together to get funding for a Pre-K Regional Technical Assistance Center for Long Island into this year’s New York State budget. The Center will support the expansion of Pre-K on Long Island, provide professional development to insure quality programs, build partnerships between school districts and community based organizations and provide technical expertise for Pre-K program leaders. The Long Island region receives the least amount of public funding for Pre-K so it is important that we coordinate the resources have and work together to build a system that assures access and equity for all children.” -Lucinda Hurley, Coordinator of the Long Island Pre-K Initiative.

"One aspect of having the Regional Technical Assistance Center will be to engage families from the crucial early years of children's lives. This is proven to change the trajectory of a child's life and have a happier more successful future. We are grateful to have Assemblymember Solages and Senator Martinez be the champions for families on Long Island." -Danielle Asher, Director of Curriculum and Training for the Family Leadership Network.

"We are extremely grateful to our LI Senators and Assembly Members in fighting until the bitter end for $475K in funding for the Long Island Pre K Regional Technical Assistance Center. While it’s not full funding for the initiative, we will be able to make a significant impact and show the worth of the state’s investment in early childhood education." -Jan Barbieri, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Nassau, Inc.

“We appreciate the hard work of our state legislators to fight for our youngest students. This funding will help ensure that more 4-year olds on Long Island have access to high-quality Pre-K in schools and child care programs. Although we still lag far behind New York City and other regions of the state with regard to child care and Pre-K investments, this funding will help move us in the right direction. We thank Assemblywoman Solages, Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre and Senator Martinez for their tireless work to secure this funding.” - Jennifer Marino Rojas, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Suffolk, Inc.

Due to the lack of regional infrastructure, competitive education priorities and the restrictive nature of most recent grants, only an estimated 10% of 4-year-olds on Long Island have access to a full-day state-funded Pre-K program. On Long Island, nearly 23,698 children are denied access to a full-day Pre-K program. In New York City, virtually 100% of the 4-year-old children have access to state-funded full-day Pre-K.

The RTAC will be anchored to regional, established organizations thus reducing facility and other related costs. The foundation for this project was established by The Long Island Pre-K Initiative – a highly successful collaboration between Long Island’s three BOCES and the two Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. The Pre-K Initiative was established through private funding that is now exhausted, creating an even more dire need for the RTAC pilot to be funded in 2019. Long Island’s RTAC will bolster New York’s existing investments in Pre-K, and ensure successful expansion and efficient use of any new funding for universal Pre-K for all Long Island children.