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Pre-K payouts lean heavily toward NYC
ALBANY -- Hundreds of millions of dollars is set to grow full day Pre-Kindergarten programs across the state.
However, the lion's share of that funding is headed to New York City.
State leaders announced $340 million would be set aside for full-day Pre-K programs.
Only $40 million will be divided among dozens of upstate districts who applied for the funding.
"The state would very much like us to have this up and running by September 5th," explained Cyndi DeDominick, superintendent of Lansingburgh Central School District.
DeDominick's district made the cut, landing about $340,000 for its program.
The news means quickly shifting around classrooms and hiring a teacher in the next two weeks--but kids won't have to be on a waiting list any longer.
"It's very tough because you know those families don't have other opportunities, and those kids miss out on a whole year of instruction [when a list is in place]," she explained.
The criticism for the plan lies in the funding. Education rights advocates don't agree with what they believe is an imbalanced payout. They also note many upstate school districts didn't get money they applied for.
"New York City has about half the population of four year olds in the state. They have definitely more than half the amount of money," explained Jasmine Gripper of the Alliance for Quality Education.
"$40 million is just not enough, and it's not getting anywhere near the number of four year olds who are still going unserved," Gripper said.
State leaders are quick to point out this funding is just the first step. Lawmakers have committed to invest $1.5 billion dollars into the program over the next five years.