The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department announced on Tuesday what it calls a “historic” expansion of New Mexico pre-Kindergarten programs.
NMECECD Secretary Elizabeth Groginsky held a press conference in Albuquerque to discuss the funding expansion. With $98 million available to expand and enhance New Mexico pre-K allocated by the Legislature for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins in July, the department seeks to expand both instructional hours and educator credentials; increase per student rate and supplemental funding; increase access and provide clarity for Head Start program grantees.
For three-year-old children enrolled in early pre-K, the expansion could go from the current rate of $8,750 per child to $15,750 per child. That would be for organizations that apply for the extended plus program and would include 1,380 hours of instruction per year.
For four-year-old children enrolled in pre-K, the expansion could go from $7,000 per child to $14,300 per child and would also increase the instructional hours to 1,380.
The increased student rate would also help with educator pay equity, according to the department. The salary equity is built into the new rate.
Increased supplemental funding could include a one-time purchase of material for $5,000 (up from zero), $1,000 per child in transportation costs (nearly double what is available currently) and $25,000 per classroom for start-up and safety costs. This is $10,000 more than is currently available.
Some schools located in rural areas or in child care deserts will be eligible for priority funding for three-year-old pre-K students.
Grant applications are currently open until 3 p.m. April 28. Award letters will be issued in early June.