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State Wide Universal Pre-K Won't Come Cheap

State Wide Universal Pre-K Won't Come Cheap
Posted January 20th, 2014 @ 9:19am by Associated Press

Buffalo, N.Y. - Sending more 4-year-olds to school has support from the White House to many statehouses, including in New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed universal prekindergarten in his State of the State address this month.

Now advocates are hoping for funding to support it.

It won't come cheap. The Citizens Budget Commission estimates expanding pre-K throughout New York could cost $1.4 billion to $2 billion a year - at least triple what the state now spends.

Districts are hoping for increases when Cuomo releases his 2014-15 budget proposal Tuesday.

Of New York's 700 school districts, 449 now offer prekindergarten. But most are half-day programs that advocates say don't go far enough in times of higher standards.

Nationally, about 28 percent of 4-year-olds attended publicly funded pre-K in 2012.

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