NANUET – State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Ossining) made an appearance at the Quick Stop on North Middletown Road in Nanuet today to announce a new proposal to set aside unclaimed lottery funds for state-funded kindergarten programs.
The bill was announced at the sale location of a $1 million lottery ticket which will expire tomorrow if it is not cashed in. According to Carlucci, such instances of unclaimed funds result in about $65 million in winnings which go right back into the state’s lotto payout fund.
“By earmarking these unclaimed funds, we don’t have to increase any tax dollars and we can have full day kindergarten throughout the state of New York,” Carlucci said.
Carlucci added that 26 school districts in New York have only part-time kindergarten programs and about a dozen districts have no kindergarten at all. The proposal would prioritize school districts without full day kindergarten, though every school district would have the opportunity to access some of the funds.
Due to the non-mandated status of pre-K and kindergarten programs on the state level, early education is often a last resort cut for troubled school districts. The Citizens’ Budget Commission has placed the price of statewide kindergarten education at $77 million.