The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Jamie Cushman
Staff writer 

Clovis schools funded for pre-K program

The $950K awarded to district part of state-wide $10M investment.

 


CLOVIS — Pre-K is coming to Clovis Municipal Schools.

The district will receive nearly $1 million in state funds for the 2018-19 school year to provide preschool education for the first time to all 4-year-olds, officials announced on Thursday.

New Mexico Education Secretary Christopher Ruszkowski said the state will provide $950,000 to CMS for the pre-K program, part of a $33.6 million state-wide investment — $10 million more than last year.

CMS Superintendent Jody Balch said he was unaware of the funding decision until he was contacted by The News for comment.

“I had no clue,” Balch said. “We’ve been waiting to hear whether we received the grant or not; we have not been notified.”

Ruszkowski said the Public Education Department would begin notifying school districts today.

Balch said Lincoln Jackson Family Center and Los Niños Early Intervention Center currently offer pre-K education, but only for “developmentally delayed and typically developing peers.”

Balch said on Thursday that it was too early to know which schools would be involved or what the new pre-K program will look like overall, but the district will have something in place in the fall.

He said the district will try to employ multiple pre-K sites for convenience to parents, but which schools would be utilized has not been determined.

Ruszkowski said there are clear benefits to expanding pre-K programs by giving students more time in the classroom with teachers.

“We need to do two things for our kids’ big picture: we need to increase the amount of instruction time and improve the quality of instruction,” Ruszkowski said, adding that Clovis’ new pre-K program will provide over 100 hours of additional instruction time for 300 students.

Ruszkowski said Clovis is one of 11 school districts that will offer a mainstream pre-K program for the first time in the coming school year as a result of the increased investment, raising the number of students served from 5,200 to 6,700.

“When Gov. (Susana) Martinez took office we were funding state 4-year old pre-K at $6 million a year. Today we’re at $33.6 million,” Ruszkowski said. “When Gov. Martinez took office in 2011 there were 25 districts and charters participating, today 71. When Gov. Martinez took office a little over 2,000 kids participated, today almost 7,000.”

 

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