Local Schools Get Prekindergarten Grants

If you haven't enrolled your child in universal prekindergarten, there's still time.

In March, Governor Cuomo approved spending $1.5 billion in state money for the programs.

It's news that Gates Chili Central School District had hoped for. The school will get $900,000 of state funding for universal prekindergarten. That money will be spread over five years.

"Universal pre-k will give us an opportunity to give them a head start, early literacy, making sure that they can identify their letters and numbers when they reach kindergarten," said Kimberle Ward.

Superintendent Kimberle Ward says the district is already preparing for the big change. The funding will provide 90 full-day pre-k seats starting this Fall.

"We knew when we applied for the grant that we would have to bring portable classrooms in. Right now, we anticipate three out of our four elementary schools will need portable classrooms and just looking at organizing those, getting those equipped, making sure we have materials and supplies ready," said Ward.

Ward says the funding is a big help for parents who can't afford to pay for pre-k.

"Two working parents. One of those parents are really paying for daycare or any other type of pre-k programs. That is their entire salary for some of the programs that are available so we really feel that this is going to be a game changer for Gates Chili," said Ward.

Gates Chili joins 80 other school districts and community based organizations statewide that will receive the funding.

Fairport and Victor will each get $360,000.

As for Gates Chili, parents can apply for pre-k until Wednesday at 3 p.m. Students will be selected through a lottery on Thursday.

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