$15M awarded to school districts statewide to help increase access to pre-K

MOUNT VERNON — For years now, parents of children aged three and four-years old in cities like Mount Vernon have had little to no access to any pre-kindergarten programs.

Parents say this can be difficult for them.

“It can be very frustrating, especially having to find somewhere else that you probably have to pay money, or you have to travel out of Mount Vernon to bring your kid to school,” says local resident Anikah Kenlock.

“You know it’s sad that they didn’t have that in place before. It’s sad that they have to even do this now,” says local parent Jamal Anderson.

All that is about to change soon, thanks to a $15 million state grant earmarked to increase statewide pre-K and early education programs.

The Mount Vernon City’s School District is one of 32 high-need districts in the state, making it eligible to receive more than $1.1 million. The funds were awarded to school districts based on several factors, including district and student needs.

Parents are happy to see these programs becoming more available.

“I understand their grief, and expanding the pre-K program, that’s the best thing that can happen,” says Ronald Holmes.

“I’m just glad that they’re doing the right thing. We could see where the money its going. It’s a good investment,” Kenlock says.

Since 2011, the governor has doubled New York’s commitment to early childhood education by spending $800 million annually, serving more than 120,000 three and four-year-old students all across the state, all at no cost to families.