Without Additional Pre-K Students, Fulton Will Have To Return State Dollars

FULTON, NY – The benefit of additional state aid for the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program in Fulton may soon be lost if the district doesn’t receive a few more students.

Elizabeth Conners, executive director of instruction and assessment for Fulton schools, explained that as of Friday, the district had enrolled 148 children in this year’s UPK program.

“We need 162 students by Oct. 1,” Conners said.

If the enrollment does not reach that number, Conners said that Fulton will have to return money to the state that was received for the program this year.

“We will have to return $4,000 per child,” she said.

Entirely supported by state aid, the district’s pre-kindergarten program provides early education for 4-year-old students in the district. Now in its 10th year, the program is offered free of charge to district families. The program received a sizeable boost in state aid this year that allowed Fulton to add another class section.

“We could have had more but we opted to add one more class,” Conners said. “We only needed 18 more kids to fill it.”

The district received a few applications Friday that had to be processed.

Conners noted that MaryAnn DeMar, director of Literacy and Universal Pre-K (UPK), has been reaching out into the community heavily this year to enroll students who may not have heard about the opportunity.

“MaryAnn has done a great job promoting the program,” Conners said. “She has really tried to reach out to the kids we didn’t get before.”

In August, DeMar stressed that the enthusiasm of the collaborative agencies have been key to the program’s success. First Step Universal Pre-K, Oswego County Opportunities and the Fulton Family YMCA each host three UPK sections. The program is offered as half days, five days a week. Parents can choose morning or afternoons sessions.

Conners said it is not too late to get a jump start on their education. She pointed out that students are only two weeks into the new school year.

“As long as the child is 4-years-old on or before Dec. 1, they can join the program and jump right in,” Conners said. “The kids are really starting to get into it. They are starting to go on field trips and do other exciting things.”

Applications can be downloaded from the district’s Web site. Interested parents can also visit the district office.

“The Web site also has a nice link to a UPK page that includes the commercials we have to tell people about the program,” Conners noted.

Those interested in additional information or registration can also call 593-5517.

1 Comment

  1. This is really interesting last year when I wanted to enroll one of my kids I couldn’t because they were too full. So my kid started kindergarten this year without that little head start and he is doing just fine. Who cares if they lose state aid because they don’t have enough kids, when last year they were excluding kids. I guess Karma has finally come full circle. Maybe next time they won’t selectively exclude kids.

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