Governor’s $95M preschool funding proposal could have multiple effects

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -- Governor Ralph Northam has proposed spending $95 million on preschool education in his new budget. If passed, it will have big implications on schools in Charlottesville and across the state. The governor’s proposal could affect student’s lives and the Virginia economy for generations.

Northam’s proposal would help at-risk children across the state. “Children who, they and their families might have risk factors such as, a low income home, experiencing homelessness, parents did not graduate from high school, or GED or if a child is receiving individualized instruction through special education,” Bright Stars Program Coordinator Carol Fox said.

If passed, the additional funding could make room for more three and four-year-olds to access a quality preschool education. “When we provide high quality experiences for our youngest children it not only benefits those children, it benefits their families, but it benefits our larger community because children who are successful in school and who have a successful school experience, they are gaining skills that make them more employable,” Fox said.

Preschool is a time where children are learning critical, life-long skills. “A lot of people do think preschool today is a babysitter, but I am very intentional about making sure that every moment of our day is a learning minute,” Albemarle County teacher Shay Carter-Shifftlet said.

Several Albemarle County preschools have a common application for enrollment that is currently open for the fall. You can find that application here.

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