Visiting pre-kindergarten classrooms at the Patricia A. DiChiaro School in Yonkers, Gov. Eliot Spitzer recognized key educational leaders including Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Pat Puleo for their support in dramatically expanding access to universal pre-kindergarten.
As a result of an historic $146 million or 50 percent increase in pre-K funding this year, at least 134 school districts will provide pre-K programs for the first time, and the 248 districts that already offer these services will be able to expand enrollment. Spitzer's plan calls for universal pre-K to be to be available to every child in the state within four years.
Puleo said Yonkers teachers were delighted that their district received $380,000 in new funding for universal pre-K for a total of $4.65 million. The district has been a leader in providing pre-K classes, becoming one of the first areas to offer those services to students in 1966.
"Gov. Spitzer's commitment to universal pre-K is already dramatically expanding opportunities for our youngest children," Puleo said. "As teachers, we know what that means in the lives of our students and we thank you."
The positive effect of high-quality universal pre-K is well-documented, Puleo said. NYSUT is a longtime supporter of expanding pre-K opportunities to ensure that more children enter school ready to learn and succeed academically.