New Jersey Invests Nearly $25 Million to Expand High-Quality Preschool Programs in 26 School Districts


The Murphy Administration announces an unprecedented initiative to enhance early childhood education, aiming to add over 1,715 preschool seats in the 2023-2024 academic year.

Acting Governor Tahesha Way, in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), unveiled a funding package totaling $24,903,130 to bolster high-quality preschool education in 26 New Jersey school districts, starting January 2024.

Who & What:

On the forefront of educational reform, Acting Governor Tahesha Way and the NJDOE announced the allocation of Preschool Expansion Aid (PEA) to expand or establish high-quality preschool programs.

When & Where

The announcement was made at the Estelle V. Malberg Early Childhood Center in Cherry Hill, to be implemented for the 2023-2024 school year.


“Providing children with access to preschool programs not only sets our students up for success, but also yields both short- and long-term economic benefits for their families and communities,” said Acting Governor Way.

The initiative aligns with Governor Murphy’s overarching goal of achieving universal preschool throughout the state.


The PEA funds will add more than 1,715 seats to the state's already expanding preschool system. Unlike previous years, the 2023-2024 funding cycle opens up application opportunities to districts beyond those with 10 percent or more low-income families.

Key Changes:

One of the pivotal changes in this year's funding cycle is the inclusion of all school districts in the state’s preschool expansion program. Previously, only districts with 10 percent or more student enrollment from low-income families were eligible. Now, applications are reviewed and scored by a panel at the NJDOE, offering equal opportunities to all districts.

Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education, emphasized, “Our vision is to create an educational landscape where every child, regardless of their background, can thrive from the very beginning of their academic journey."

Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald noted, "With the cost of childcare reaching a critical point, expanding pre-k adds to the long list of legislative investments in affordability for our working families."

Karen Bingert, Executive Director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, stated, "From a strong foundation comes increased and equitable opportunities for success, and I commend Governor Murphy, Acting Governor Way, and their Administration for continuing universal Pre-K expansion."

Of particular note for Morris County residents, Mine Hill has been granted $850,906 in PEA funds, contributing to the local community's early childhood educational opportunities.

County District Amount
Bergen Carlstadt $442,304
Burlington Florence $779,670
Burlington Hainesport $580,560
Burlington Medford $2,110,872
Camden Cherry Hill $3,417,615
Camden Magnolia * $291,060
Cape May West Cape May $166,752
Gloucester Elk Township * $1,100,962
Hunterdon Clinton Glen Gardner $607,248
Hunterdon Clinton Township $966,030
Hunterdon East Amwell $520,170
Hunterdon Flemington-Raritan $1,228,968
Hunterdon Franklin Township $356,688
Hunterdon Frenchtown $428,904
Hunterdon Readington $1,522,410
Middlesex Dunellen $444,180
Middlesex Highland Park * $559,308
Monmouth Oceanport $513,415
Morris Mine Hill $850,906
Ocean Lacey Township $3,323,279
Sussex Hardyston $654,795
Sussex Lafayette $378,326
Sussex Sparta $1,076,774
Sussex Sussex-Wantage $2,159,064
Union Garwood $195,078
Warren Washington Township $227,792
Total $24,903,130

* Denotes districts that previously operated preschool programs via state Early Childhood Program Aid (ECPA) and the Early Launch to Learning Initiative (ELLI) funding. The 2023-2024 State preschool aid will allow them to expand to a high-quality preschool program

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