UPK funding slated for 70 students to attend local early childhood programs at no cost to parents

For the 2021-22 school year, the enacted state budget slated $105 million for Pre-Kindergarten funding, with a focus on low- and medium-wealth school districts for the expansion of Pre-Kindergarten, or for districts that currently do not have a program for four-year-olds. BH-BL is one of the districts that qualified to receive aid to provide early childhood education opportunities for four-year-olds.

For the 2021-22 school year, BH-BL intends to partner with one or more of the current preschool providers that operate within or near the district boundaries to provide this program to qualifying 4-year-old district residents. District officials are currently drafting a Request For Proposals (RFP) that will be available for early childhood education providers in the area that are interested in working collaboratively with the school district. The funds of approximately $5,000 per student, in the form of a grant, are required to cover the cost of tuition and meals for BH-BL four year olds planning to enroll in one of BH-BL’s three elementary schools in the fall of 2022 (for the 2022-23 school year). This means that a child who is age eligible to attend kindergarten for the 2021-22 school year is not eligible for the UPK program.

The early childhood provider(s) that BH-BL partners with for this program must provide an educational experience that is aligned with the New York State Early Learning Guidelines, as well as the district-approved curriculum.

We plan to keep the community informed as we announce district-approved providers, as soon as they are determined, as well as the process for enrolling your child. As indicated above, all qualifying resident district students are eligible to attend this program. Please know, a lottery system may be necessary to select students for this program if more than 70 qualifying 4-year-old students’ families apply.

BH-BL is excited to be able to offer a full-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten program for our future students and intend to launch this program in the fall of 2021 as long as we secure State Education Department approval in time to do so.  If you are interested in this program, or have questions, please reach out to Lyndsay Wilson or Kate Gurley at 518-399-9141, Ext. 84151 or lwilson@bhbl.org and kgurley@bhbl.org.

Please look on our website for more information in the coming weeks.