$1 Million State Grant Allows For Refund Of Pre-K Tuition

Board of Education president Ed Potosnak said that early childhood education is “extremely valuable.”

Township parents with children in the district’s Pre-K program are getting an unexpected surprise: a refund of the nearly $6,000 tuition.

District officials announced Sept. 28 that the state has approved a $1.1 million Preschool Education Expansion Aid grant for the 2017-18 school year.

The money will be used toward reimbursements of the tuition paid for the students enrolled in the district’s Pre-K program, officials said.

Tuition for this year was set at $5,999. Board of Education members have said in the past that instituting a tuition was necessary because of the growing popularity of the Pre-K program and the increasing costs in other district budget line items.

Schools Superintendent John Ravally congratulated Kathleen Damore, the district’s early childhood education supervisor, who applied for the grant.

The money will “allow us to extend the pre-shool program by an additional two classes” and “will be very helpful in growing out an excellent program even further,” he said.

Board of Education president Ed Potosnak said that the board “has made it a priority to expand the pre-school program and make it as available to our families as possible. It was getting harder for us because the outlay of the funds in the budget was becoming large as more families were signing up for Pre-K.”

“To meet their needs, and really give those kids an excellent experience because it was so popular, we had to charge tuition,” he said.

Potosnak said the message that the grant sends is “not only does the board go above and beyond our responsibilities, we take advantage of every opportunity there is to help our families” afford district programs. “We’re just really proud to have such dedicated faculty and staff to seize these opportunities.”

“Early childhood education is extremely valuable,” Potosnak said. “What you learn in Pre-K puts you ahead” as students continue their education.

The district was notified of the $1,065,078 grant in a Sept. 15 letter to Ravally from Tonya Coston, acting co-administrator of the state Department of Education’s division of early childhood education and family engagement.


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