Gopal, Houghtaling, & Downey Announce $586K in Pre-K Funding for Ocean Township Schools

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Senator Vin Gopal joined Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey to announce that the Ocean Township School District will receive $586,000 in state aid to implement or expand quality early childhood education programs.

"This funding will help Ocean Township's students get a stronger start than ever before," said Gopal (D-Long Branch), who represents Ocean Township in the State Senate. "A quality preschool education can be critical for giving kids a leg up on basic skills like reading, writing, and mathematics, and I'm sure that this essential funding will go a long way toward improving outcomes for students across the district."

"Every child deserves to have a quality childhood education, and high-quality preschool is one of the best investments we can make to help our kids succeed," said Downey (D-Freehold). "As a parent of two young girls, I know how important an early childhood education can be to a child's development, and I'm glad to see more New Jersey students gain access to that quality education than ever before."

"Every dollar we invest in our kids' education before they even step into a kindergarten classroom pays off in incredible amounts five, ten, and even twenty years down the line," said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). "Preschool can open so many doors for our kids, giving them a lifelong love of learning and putting them directly on the path to success."

The funding, which will come from an allocation of $20 million for Preschool Education Aid in the FY2020 state budget and will be provided by October 1, continues New Jersey's largest-ever expansion of quality early childhood education programming to schools throughout the state.

High-quality preschool programs are identified as transitioning to a full-day program, with a certificated teacher, an aide, small class sizes, and inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.

Each school district implementing or expanding to high-quality preschool programs this school year has at least 20 percent of its student population receiving free or reduced lunch or had been receiving partial state funding to address pockets of poverty.