STATE FUNDS RB’S PRESCHOOL EXPANSION

TotsStudents in teacher Jessica Sevillano’s class last month. The program for 3- and 4-year-olds is housed at the middle school because of space considerations.

The Red Bank school district will get enough money from the state next year to quadruple the size of its fledgling preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

From the Press:

The borough schools received an additional $692,914 in state aid, a 33 percent increase over last year’s aid…

That money will fund operation of Red Bank’s preschool program at the primary school and three satellite locations in the borough at the Community YMCA, Monmouth Day Care and Tower Hill school. All four will teach the district’s Tools of the Mind curriculum and have met state standards for teacher certification and facilities.

The funding will allow for an increase in program enrollment to 60 students, from the present 15, according to Superintendent Laura Morana.

According to the Star-Ledger, the state budget unveiled by Gov. Jon Corzine this week includes $50 million to increase funding to existing preschool programs, which are now costing the state $550 million, mostly in the poorest districts.

More broadly, Red Bank also will see a five-percent increase from last year’s $2.398 million state aid figure to $2.518 million, the Press reports. That means there will be no increase in taxes under the budget slated to be introduced by the board of education next Tuesday night.

“We were very careful about what we budgeted and kept a flat tax levy,” borough school business administrator Ann Darrow told the Press.

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