Two Pre-K programs tagged for funds

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Two schools in Quay County will receive a portion of a $14 million dollar Pre-K Expansion Fund, according to a press release from Gov. Bill Richardson.

The schools are in Logan and San Jon.

“We are happy to receive the funds to continue with early childhood development,” said Logan Pre-K teacher Liz Burns. “In the past, our funding came from a grant that is no longer available. With the new initiative, we will be able to continue with early education for four-year-olds.”

Logan will receive $43,439 in funding and San Jon will receive $23,289, said John Herrera with the New Mexico State Public Education Department.

Unlike other pre-K programs across the country, Pre-K New Mexico dedicates specific funding for professional development, according to the July 12 release.

The $14 million will pay for 19 new programs boosting the numbers of students served by Pre-K education by 63 percent, the release said. The Pre-K program makes 58 programs available in 43 communities across New Mexico and will increase the access to early childhood education for approximately 3,568 four-year olds, the release said.

Research has show the most significant brain development occurs before age five and children who have foundations for learning before entering kindergarten are better prepared for school success, according to the release.

“High quality pre-kindergarten programs help close the achievement gap for New Mexico kids and gives them a step up in developing skills that are important to school success,” said Richardson in the release. “Our challenge during the next legislative session, is to fully fund Pre-K so all children have an equal chance to succeed.”