Senate supports full-day kindergarten funding

It looks as though all sides support budgeting state money next year to help Washingtonville School District and five other districts convert their part-time kindergarten classes to full-time ones.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, whose chamber unanimously approved a bill last month to authorize such aid, announced on Wednesday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has agreed to put funding for that purpose into next year’s state budget. Cuomo’s spokesman confirmed afterward that he had indeed made such a commitment. And before the day was out, the Senate Republicans’ spokesman had emailed a statement indicating that their conference – which controls the Senate – also supports the idea.

“We have always supported full day Kindergarten for every child because it improves student outcomes,” spokesman Scott Reif said. “Working with Senator Larkin, Senator Funke and others, we look forward to its inclusion in next year’s budget.”

Washingtonville is one of only six school districts out of 726 in New York that hold only half-day kindergarten. Assemblyman James Skoufis, D-Woodbury, and Sen. Bill Larkin, R-Cornwall-on-Hudson, both represent Washingtonville and were co-sponsors of the bills that would authorize aid for the six districts to convert to a full-time programs. Skoufis said this week that Washingtonville has estimated the additional staffing and materials would cost almost $700,000.


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