Hopes of a full-day Pre-K program for Secaucus’ youngest learners have been dashed just weeks after registration opened, leaving parents scrambling and demanding answers.

Mayor Michael Gonnelli broke the news in a statement released yesterday, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of former Superintendent, Erick Alfonso, who is currently on administrative leave. According to the Mayor, Alfonso had repeatedly assured him and others that state grant funding would fully cover the program, which was slated to launch this fall.

The plan hinged on partnering with local daycare and Head Start programs to provide the necessary space. However, Acting Superintendent Charlie Voorhees, who recently stepped into the role, uncovered a series of critical oversights.

Not only were formal agreements with these partner programs never signed, but some have since withdrawn, and the New Jersey State Department of Education deemed at least one facility unsuitable. Furthermore, projected costs were found to exceed the available grant funding, raising concerns about the program’s long-term sustainability.

“It seems Superintendent Alfonso either provided me with incorrect information or did not fully analyze and understand the requirements and limitations of the grant and the impact on the school system,” stated a clearly frustrated Mayor Gonnelli. He went on to call the situation “very upsetting, and utterly embarrassing.”

For many Secaucus families, the news comes as a devastating blow. Parents, who had eagerly enrolled their children in the program, are left grappling with childcare dilemmas and a sense of anger at the mismanaged expectations.

Acting Superintendent Voorhees, while acknowledging the difficult position this creates for families, has been praised by the Mayor for his swift action in uncovering and addressing the program’s fatal flaws.

As Secaucus grapples with the fallout of this debacle, the Mayor has vowed to work with the Board of Education to ensure future initiatives are thoroughly vetted. However, for many parents, the damage is done, leaving a cloud of doubt hanging over the future of early childhood education in Secaucus.