Public Notices and Press Releases

NJ Department of Education Announces $20 Million for High-Quality Preschool Expansion

Fiscal Year 2025 Funding Supports Partnerships with Local Child Care Providers and Head Start Programs

Trenton, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has announced the availability of $20 million to help school districts expand or establish new high-quality preschool programs for the 2024-2025 school year. This initiative is part of a $124 million increase in preschool aid included in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, signed by Governor Phil Murphy last week, raising the state's total investment in preschool to over $1.2 billion. Since Fiscal Year 2018, preschool funding has increased by over $550 million under the Murphy Administration.

Increased support for early childhood education directly aids young families in communities across our state,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Our strategic investments into new and expanded pre-K seats benefit more and more children each year as we work toward realizing universal pre-K for all New Jersey families. We have seen the positive impact access to high-quality early childhood education has on young learners, acting as the cornerstone of lifelong academic success, which is why it is critical that we continue momentum in investing in a brighter future for our children.”

The initiative requires school districts applying for funding to demonstrate engagement with licensed childcare providers and Head Start programs operating locally or in neighboring communities capable of meeting all preschool program requirements.

We understand how valuable high-quality preschool is to the success of young students, and we also understand the importance of partnerships with local licensed child care centers,” said Acting Education Commissioner Kevin Dehmer. “We want to ensure that students receive the best preschool programming possible, and that our system relies on the strength of all of the relevant stakeholders in the community.”

A high-quality preschool program is a full-day program for 3- and 4-year-old children featuring a certified teacher, an aide, and a curriculum aligned with the New Jersey Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards. These programs must also be inclusive of special needs children. Since taking office, Gov. Murphy’s administration has made state-supported, high-quality preschool programs available in 211 additional school districts, creating nearly 15,000 more seats for children.

School districts have until noon on August 14, 2024, to submit their Application for Preschool Expansion Aid to the NJDOE. The recipients of the funding will be announced in the fall.

For more information, visit the NJDOE’s Division of Early Childhood Education webpage.

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