Assemblyman James Skoufis advocated on Thursday for a bill he’s cosponsoring that would provide state funding to a handful of school districts in New York that still have half-day kindergarten classes and would use the aid to help pay for the transition to full-day programs.
The Woodbury Democrat and the bill’s main sponsor, Ken Zebrowski of New City, said in their announcement that only six of the state’s nearly 700 school districts, one being Washingtonville School District in Skoufis’ Assembly District, currently don’t have full-day kindergarten. The bill would provide each district funding for five years in declining amounts to help make the transition to full-day programs.
“Early education is critical for children,” Skoufis said in the release. “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 don’t have access to this fundamental building block of their education.”
The release included a statement from Washingtonville schools Superintendent Roy Reese: “There’s so much we’re doing every day in kindergarten that gets children ready to learn, grow and take on the challenges of school. A half day is just not enough time to get our students on track for 21st-century learning.”
The estimated cost of the bill if all six districts participate is $25 million. Skoufis and Zebrowski say they are pushing to include the funding in the state budget now being developed for the fiscal year that begins on April 1.