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Gov. Murphy announces plan to offer universal pre-K to all New Jersey families

Phil Murphy
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a news conference announcing a budget deal between him and Democratic legislative leaders, Saturday, June 30, 2018, in Trenton, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Gov. Murphy announces plan to offer universal pre-K to all New Jersey families

September 19, 01:00 PM September 19, 01:00 PM

New Jersey could soon offer universal pre-K to all New Jersey families, and the state is doling out millions in taxpayer dollars to jumpstart the process.

On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a plan to offer universal pre-K. The Department of Education (DOE) will develop a plan for additional pre-K expansion statewide, including a timeline.

New Jersey is awarding $17 million to 19 school districts across the state to start or expand their pre-K offerings for the 2021-2022 school year.

“Investing in early childhood education lays the foundation for a bright future for our early learners,” Murphy said in an announcement. “…While we still have a long way to go to achieve pre-K for all, today’s expansion further demonstrates our commitment to reaching as many students as possible.”

To develop its plan, the DOE will explore funding sources, including federal dollars. The agency will also look at other states that offer similar programs and explore how to involve childcare providers and Head Start programs in the process.

According to The Associated Press, New Jersey provides funding to pre-K programs in some communities with high poverty rates. The funding stems from a decades-old court case, Abbott v. Burke.

“Today’s announcement represents five years of consistent expansion of New Jersey’s state-funded, full day pre-k for working families throughout our state,” Sam Crane, a representative of Pre-K Our Way, said in an announcement.

Murphy made the announcement during a visit to the Dr. Charles Smith Early Childhood Center in Palisades Park.

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