The Bethlehem Central School District is seeking a partnership with one or more community-based organizations to provide a Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program for up to 235 four-year-olds within the district. The district is soliciting proposals from qualified providers in a Request for Proposals (RFP) that was issued this week.
This is the third year the district has been eligible for funding from New York State to provide an instructional program for four-year-olds. The district could receive up to $1,269,000 to support a UPK program in 2023-24, if the district is able to contract with a qualified community provider that meets the early childhood education requirements for the pre-kindergarten program.
Due to space constraints, the district is not able to provide a UPK program in its school buildings. New York State allows districts to use the UPK funds to contract with outside providers to offer a UPK program within the boundaries of the district.
“We are pleased that this funding continues to be available in the budget, but we do not have the space to house a Universal Pre-Kindergarten program,” said Superintendent Jody Monroe. “So we must look at our next best option, which is partnering with an organization that can meet the qualifications set forth by the state for a quality instructional program for four-year-olds.”
Monroe said if a UPK program is established through a partnership in the district, enrollment would be by lottery.
Interested early childhood education providers within the Bethlehem Central School District have until Friday, March 17 at 3 p.m. to submit a proposal to the district.
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