$7.9M increase in preschool aid

TRENTON – The state Education Department has notified poor, urban school districts of a $7.9 million increase in preschool education aid for fiscal year 2012.

The administration action ensures full compliance with the state Supreme Court’s order in May in the Abbott case, according to the Education Law Center.

According to ELC spokeswoman Sharon Krengel, the Center had informed the Attorney General that the budget signed by Gov. Christie in July did not fully fund preschool aid under the 2008 School Funding Reform Act.

While the budget increased K-12 aid under the SFRA by $450 million for urban students, and by approximately $300 million for students in other districts, no increase in preschool aid was included, even though it is required under the SFRA formula, Krengel stated in a release.

In May, the court ruled that the school aid cut was unconstitutional, and order funds restored to 31 poor, urban districts.

“We are pleased that Attorney General Dow moved quickly to direct the State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff and Acting Commissioner Christopher Cerf to fully comply with the Abbott XXI order, which includes increasing aid for critically needed preschool programs in our poorest communities,” said Elizabeth Athos, ELC senior attorney, in a release. “This aid will enable community providers, Head Start, and public school classrooms to maintain the quality that has made the Abbott preschool program the nation’s best.” $7.9M increase in preschool aid