The program – now in its fourth year – is open to 3- and 4-year-olds in the township.
Registration is on a lottery system meaning all applicants receive one entry regulated by state school officials. The 3- and 4-year-olds are filtered into separate systems, and once selected, families will be contacted. Those not selected will go on a wait list.
Preschool Supervisor Nicole Petronglo said the number of students is anticipated to be about 325. The school is regulated to a cap of 15 students per classroom; township preschools currently have 25 classrooms with two aids per room.
We’re still using a lottery because the interest exceeds the number of spaces we have available at this time,” said Petronglo, “ We have 25 preschool classrooms currently … There are a lot of specifics that go into the funding from the state.”
The preschool expansion comes directly from the state, which allocates a certain amount of funds per year to township schools.
“Every classroom is required to have one certified teacher in addition to one support professional, in addition to the teacher… Petronglo noted. “We are at a capacity of 15 students per class …
“Again, that is part of that funding,” she added, “where (the state) gives you an outline of the program that you are expected to implement, and part of that is capping that at the number of students per classroom.”
The preschool registration window and early end date will allow the township proper time to alert families selected in the lottery, as well as those wait listed. That gives the families flexibility to seek out other preschool options.
“We like to be able to give parents information for what school they (students) will attend, the classroom they will be placed in, some time over the summer,” Petronglo explained. “So we take the lottery entries, then hold the actual lottery and notify families that got in or didn’t. Families then have to be given time to officially register their child.”
She encourages all parents to visit the school district’s website for information about the changes and process. There is a detailed presentation made available to them to read before deciding if a township school is right for their child.