Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos advocated on behalf of Nassau Children for equal funding for universal Pre-Kindergarten education in a letter to New York State (NYS) Governor Andrew Cuomo, Long Island elected officials, school superintendents and business leaders. The Comptroller highlights that the NYS 2015 Budget provided Pre-K education funding to New York City is vastly disproportionate to monies provided for Nassau County, Suffolk and other counties. For the 2015-2016 school year, New York City (NYC) will receive $529.4 million in Pre-K funding while Nassau will receive only $12.4 million. NYC will receive more than 42 times as much funding as Nassau County, despite having only 6 times as many 4-year-olds. The Comptroller estimated Nassau County is being shortchanged by $77 million annually.
“It is fundamentally unfair that Nassau County children are being deprived of equal funding,” Comptroller Maragos said. “With an additional $77 million from the State our school districts can expand Pre-K programs, which have proven life-long benefits including higher high school graduation rates, improved academic outcomes and greater earnings in life.”
Nassau County is currently funded for only 20% of its 4-year old children, while NYC receives funding for 70% of its 4-year-olds. Moreover, NYS provides $9,053 per student to NYC while Nassau receives less than half of that at $4,434 per student. In the interest of fairness, Nassau should have been funded at the same level as NYC ($9,053 per student for 70% of Nassau’s 4-year-olds) in the 2015 NYS budget. This equates to $77 million in Pre-K under-funding for Nassau County.
Studies of early childhood programs have shown lifelong positive effects, especially for low-income and at-risk children. These benefits include improved language, literacy, mathematics and science outcomes in elementary school, decreased grade retention (repeating a grade), improved long-term achievement test scores, increased earnings, and reduced arrests.
“There is no question that Nassau County’s children deserve the same treatment as NYC’s children,” Comptroller Maragos added. “I urge the Governor and our local State representatives to fight for our children when the 2016 NYS budget is determined to ensure fair and equitable Pre-K funding for Nassau school districts.”
NYS Underfunding NC PreK Final