The Roselle Park Board Of Education (BOE) unanimously voted to approve a one-year tuition-free pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds in the Roselle Park School District (RPSD). The $515,463 grant approved by the New Jersey Department Of Education (NJDOE) was awarded to the school district under Preschool Education Expansion Aid (PEEA).
The program has to begin on January 2, 2019, and will last until the end of the school year in June – technically half a year.
Originally stated by the school board as being open only to full-day kindergarten students, Roselle Park School District Superintendent Pedro Garrido corrected the matter and stated that the one-year program will be open to full-day and half-day students. The awarded amount is for 30 full-day students and 18 half-day students. The annual rate for a full-day student is $13,217; half-day students were given a rate of $6,608.50.
Mr. Garrido did remark that most of the seats will be taken up by those students who are already enrolled and whose parents/guardians are paying for pre-k for their four-year-olds. Those families will have their full tuition reimbursed for the year through the grant. This means that there will be few available open seats from which students will be picked from a lottery until all seats are filled.
When asked what will happen to half of the money for those students who are accepted via the lottery since they will be attending classes for half a year, not the full school year, Mr. Garrido answered that those funds would go toward any technical assistance associated with the pre-k program.
Mr. Garrido also stated that there would be no loss of a classroom or instruction to accommodate the tuition-free pre-k program, simply a readjusting of existing space. 30 students will be at Robert Gordon School and 18 will be at EJF/Aldene School.
The school district has to meet various deadlines between now and the end of the year to be ready to have the one-year four-year-old pre-kindergarten program start on January 2nd of next year.