Gillibrand and Hanna Propose Pre-K Funding

Published 02/24 2014 04:54PM

Updated 02/24 2014 05:18PM

Senator Gillibrand was in Greene today with Congressman Richard Hanna. They are proposing more federal funding for universal pre-kindergarten classes.

They announced their proposal at the Greene Central School District's primary school. Greene currently offers two half day pre-k classes, which accommodate 30 students. However, there are also about 30 kids on a waiting list. Children are chosen through a lottery system, because the district says it has limited state funding for the classes.

Congressman Hanna says pre-k gives kids a head start on learning and a greater chance of success in life.

"It's clear that we have a deficit and debt problem in this country, as the Senator said. It's also clear that if we don't educate ourselves we will not be solving that problem. This is an absolute must. It's an investment," said Hanna.

The Strong Start for America's Children Act would cost about $75 billion over 10 years. It's also designed to help support child care programs. Hanna and Gillibrand also say that when families have access to pre-k that more mothers can stay in the workforce if they want or need to.

"I have seen the kids in kindergarten that came from UPK compared tho those who did not," said Michelle Evans, a pre-k teacher who formerly taught kindergarten. "There is a huge difference in their social ability, their developmental, simple things like holding the scissors the right way, holding a pencil."

The pre-k program currently costs Greene about $120,000 a year. All of that comes through state aid. Greene depends on the state for about 70 percent of its overall budget.

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