O’Dea and McKnight applaud avoiding state cuts to Jersey City pre-K programs


Hudson County Commissioner Bill O’Dea (D-2), also a declared candidate for Jersey City mayor, and state Senator-elect Angela McKnight (D-31) are applauding the news that state cuts to local pre-K programs has been averted.

Academy House in Jersey City. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I’m thankful to the parents, teachers, and members of the community who joined me in the fight to reverse these budget cuts, which would have caused irreparable harm to an early childhood system that is cited as the gold standard across the country,” O’Dea said in a statement.

“The Murphy Administration and the New Jersey Department of Education made the right choice, and I’m glad they listened and are protecting education for our children.”

At the beginning of the month, O’Dea started an online petition to halt potential pre-K funding being slashed by the DOE after introducing a resolution urging against the funding decrease, which he estimated would be in the neighborhood of $3 million.

The petition has just under 1,000 signatures as of this writing.

As for McKnight, she indicated today that the Jersey City BOE notified contracted preschool providers that the way they had been paid for the past three years would end in December.

“This change would have resulted in income reductions of as much as 50 percent for some providers, or worse, some would have had to close their doors completely,” she said in her own statement.

“The Jersey City school budget was passed in March and the state DOE budget was passed in July so the funds are already accounted for in the budget.”

According to McKnight, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norma Fernandez agreed with her request to maintain the provider’s payment schedule throughout this school year. Fernandez could not be reached for comment on Friday.

“I’m enthusiastic that the superintendent responded to my request to make sure that Jersey City contracted preschool providers are paid their full contract amounts throughout this school year,” she added.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the school district and providers to ensure that there is better communication between the state, the board of education and early childhood providers.”

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