According to a recent paper coauthored by Nobel laureate James Heckman, The Life-Cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, investing in early childhood education results in richer, fuller, healthier lives for the entire family. Dr. Heckman asserts that early childhood education helps students to develop key social and emotional skills (like self-control) at a critical time of their development.
Not only does early childhood education promote the engagement of children, their cognitive skills, non cognitive skills, and IQs are also boosted. For many students who receive early childhood education, the positive impact lasts for years, resulting in increased social engagement, and an increased willingness to participate in society.
ABOUT THE PROPOSAL
District Prekindergarten Center
The early learning center is being designed to serve four year-old students in the Kingston City School District geographic area. Students would be invited to enroll, based on need. The buildings physical space dedicated to Prekindergarten would include four classrooms, a playroom, and a story center, with each room specifically modified to meet the unique needs of our youngest learners.
KCSD Administrative Offices
The KCSD has sold its current office location in uptown Kingston (61 Crown Street) and will move operations to the Meagher site. The offices include tax, payroll, human resources, and student registration, as well as curriculum offices, special education, transportation, and technology.
ABOUT THE COST
The estimated total cost for this renovation is $4.23 million, which will be offset by New York State building aid, the proceeds from the sale of the Cioni building, and monies set aside in the District Capital Reserve fund. The prekindergarten program’s annual recurring cost would be dependent on enrollment and would be incorporated into the district’s regular operating budget. Project costs will include repaving and repairing the parking lot, installing an elevator (mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act), as well as major renovations of 3,540 square feet and minor renovations of 11,135 square feet. The renovation would be funded through monies set aside by the Capital Reserve, which are savings achieved by the school district over the course of several years. The Building Capital Reserve is currently $8,002,705. If this proposal is approved by voters and proceeds as planned, the Capital Reserve will fund the entire renovation initially. The KCSD anticipates that the reserve will be replenished by proceeds from the sale of the Cioni building, as well as the State Aid inflows.
WHY CREATE A PREKINDERGARTEN CENTER?
Prekindergarten can create lasting benefits for the student and the entire community. A large and growing body of research shows that prekindergarten education yields both short-and long-term benefits, including potential cost savings to communities. The short-term benefits include greater academic achievement, greater success in early grades, and a greater chance of graduating from high school. The HighScope Perry PreSchool Study showed evidence that preschool education yielded benefits for students decades in the future. The study followed children born in poverty and at high risk of failing in school. From 1962–1967 the students were randomly divided into a program group that received a high-quality preschool program and a comparison group who received no preschool program. Data were gathered from the subjects’ school, social services, and arrest records.The study found that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool.
Kingston City School District voters approved the project during the May 15th Board of Education Budget vote. District administration are currently planning the educational program and structure for the center, and a presentation will be made to the Board of Education by June of 2018. The PreK center is slated to open in September of 2019.