State Education Department

Oversight of the Expansion of the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program (Follow-Up Review)

In 1997, the New York State Legislature established the Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) program, administered by the State Education Department, to provide all four-year olds in the State with the opportunity to benefit from an early education experience. Originally, the UPK program was to be phased in and made available to all school districts over a four-year period, but funding levels for the program have been lower than originally planned, and as a result, some districts are not yet eligible to participate in the program.

In our prior audit report 2000-S-13, we found that many of the eligible districts had elected not to participate in the UPK program, and some participating districts were not able to enroll as many children as were funded. Some districts did not participate or fill all funded slots because the existing PreKindergarten services in the district were considered sufficient. However, in many other instances, districts did not participate or fill slots because they lacked classroom space, community-based providers, or adequate assurance about the level of funding that would be available to support the UPK program. We recommended that certain improvements be made in the Departmentís oversight of program activities, and in our follow-up review, we found that actions had been taken to implement these recommendations.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-F-8 click here.