TRENTON – While he described it as a potential “tragedy,” acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf told the Assembly Budget Committee Tuesday that the state could theoretically cut the state-funded full-day kindergarten services in the state’s 31 former Abbot districts to free up funds to fulfill a potential Supreme Court mandate.
Cerf said full-day kindergarten “is not actually required” by state law.
“We could go half day pre-K and find hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “That’s probably the biggest pot.”
Personally, he said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea given all the positive research suggesting the link between student success and pre-kindergarten services. However, he said there are a limited number of areas where the state could reduce its costs.
“I think it would be a tragedy.”
A Supreme Court special master report found that the former Abbott school districts were underfunded by $1.6 billion.