Preschools To Receive $120M For Improved Access And Expansion

By: Savannah Scarborough, Follow South Jersey Intern

SOUTH JERSEY – Local preschools will receive additional state funding to provide better access to full-day care and program expansion.

Governor Phil Murphy announced the availability of a $120 million grant for preschool facility expansion recently. The funding aims to provide universal access to high-quality, full-day preschool throughout the state in 16 school districts recently receiving grants to establish or grow their preschool programming. And Governor Murphy announced an additional $2.6 million to assist 33 school districts with supplementary start-up funding and expansion.

“Expanding access to free, full-day preschool programs represents an investment in the future of New Jersey’s children,” said Governor Murphy. “A quality preschool education provides students with the foundational skills they need to learn and succeed as they advance through life, which is why we must – and will – continue to work towards universal pre-K throughout New Jersey.”

Since Governor Murphy took office in 2018, he has prioritized providing free early childhood preschool education in New Jersey. Since then, he has introduced preschool programs to over 160 school districts, opening seats for over 12,000 children.

This grant marks the first time preschool facility grants will be available to Regular Operating Districts (RODs). A ROD is a school district other than an SDA district, which are schools that received education opportunity aid or preschool expansion aid in the past. 

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) will accept grant applications from RODs from March 1 to May 31, 2023, and according to the State of New Jersey, eligible proposals will be prioritized based on the following order:

  1. Proposals to increase available preschool seats by at least 10 percent, ranked by the percentage of increased seats
  2. Proposals to enhance preschool facilities by increasing the capacity of existing classrooms or by constructing/rehabilitating restrooms
  3. Proposals to expand preschool programs from half-day to full-day 
  4. Proposals to expand classroom capacity to house new preschool programs and guarantee additional seats 

“I applaud the Governor’s continued commitment to pre-K expansion. We share that commitment in the Assembly,” said Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. “Early childhood education is not only critical to helping children get a head start on their education, but also their mental and social development. This type of investment in the future will reap benefits for decades to come.”

To learn more about the grant, and additional funding, visit

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