By Marion Filler
And you thought college admissions were daunting?
Pre-K in New Jersey can be just as difficult, depending on your location. The Morris School District has gotten a break with additional state funds, and now receives more than $1 million annually–the most awarded in Morris County– towards pre-school education.
The program is called Preschool Expansion Education Aid (PEEA), and it fulfills a campaign promise by Governor Phil Murphy.
“It’s probably the smartest economic investment we can make,” said Murphy. “It’s a hard one to convince people because it pays off over decades. For every dollar you put into a child at this age, you get about 7 bucks back on society.”
Because of the additional aid from PEEA, the number of students who receive free tuition — regardless of family income — has increased from 105 to 145.
To qualify, a child must live within the Morris School District, be between 3 and 4 years old, with a birthday between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2016.
Classes are held at the Lafayette Learning Center, 31 Hazel St., Morristown, and are limited to 15 students. It is a five-day program that follows the school calendar for the District.
There are several ways to participate. You can register your child online at www.morrisschooldistrict.org starting in mid-January through the end of February 2019. If demand exceeds supply, a lottery will be held for open seats in March.
To learn more about the program, stop by the open house at the Lafayette Learning Center on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, from 9:30 to 10:30 am, or call 973-292-2222.
With an eye on further expansion, Lafayette Preschool Principal Karen Andre said “the District is currently engaging in conversations with additional community providers to secure more spaces for resident students to receive high quality preschool experiences in the 2019-2020 school year.
“Family and community partnerships are a key element of the PEEA grant and District practices with a shared goal of launching students on a pathway of academic excellence and future readiness,” Andre said.