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School leaders, lawmakers offer support for universal pre-K

Community groups joined with Buffalo Public Schools officials and elected leaders Friday to back Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan for universal pre-kindergarten in New York. Samuel Radford of the District Parent Coordinating Council joined Superintendent Pamela Brown and others in urging the state legislature to support Cuomo's plan to invest $1.5 billion over five years to implement full-day, universal pre-K. 

"When this gets before the State Legislature, we plan to go to Albany to lobby our state legislators to let them know that this is a priority and let them know that we are looking for them to figure out how we're going to pay for this," Radford said.

Radford says universal pre-K provides the foundation necessary for students to succeed to school.

The proposal also has the support of Assembly members Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Sean Ryan and State Senator Tim Kennedy.

“It is widely recognized that early childhood education, beginning at four years of age, improves the chances of academic success for students. Students who to go pre-k are less likely to drop out or require special education services, and are more likely to go to college. Giving our children the best future we can provide must be our first priority,”said Peoples-Stokes, in a statement.

The community groups say they are prepared to travel to Albany to lobby on behalf of the governor's plan.

Cuomo's plan to invest $1.5 billion over five years to implement universal pre-K. The state legislature has until April 1 to act on Cuomo's proposed budget, which includes $100 million to expand universal Pre-K for the highest need students.

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