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Wappingers Can't Afford Pre-K Program, School Officials Say

Wappingers school officials say the district simply doesn't have enough money to fund a prekindergarten program on its own.
Wappingers school officials say the district simply doesn't have enough money to fund a prekindergarten program on its own. Photo Credit: Ken Teegardin via Wikimedia Commons

WAPPINGERS, N.Y. – A prekindergarten program is off the table in Wappingers -- at least for now -- because, school officials claim, the district simply hasn’t got the money, according to a report by the Poughkeepsie Journal.

A full-day pre-K program could cost $2.5 million for 162 children, and a half-day version, for 324 children, close to $3 million, school officials told the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Finances aside, there is an issue of fairness. There simply isn’t enough room to accommodate all 700 children who would be eligible for pre-K and the district would have to hold a lottery, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported.

The district would also be battling bureaucracy. Wappingers would have to go it alone because it didn’t apply for universal pre-K funding from the state in 2006 and this means that if it established its own program, it would not be eligible for funding when, and if, the state re-opens the application process, according to the the Poughkeepsie Journal report.

Education advocates have been pushing the state to fund more upstate pre-K programs.

Outside New York City, 20,000 children have access to full-day pre-K programs; 70,000 children are in those program in the city, the Poughkeepsie Journal said, citing a report from the Alliance for Quality Education .

Wappingers does have a full-day kindergarten program which it has been footing the bill for itself after a state grant ran out, the Poughkeepsie Journal story said.

To read the the Poughkeepsie Journal report click here.

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