Local pre-schoolers program axed

Citing state budget cuts, the Sunnyside School District is planning to cut its pre-school program starting with the 2010-11 school year.

The move does not affect the district's developmental pre-school program, which works with about 70 children.

"We have been anticipating significant cuts from the legislature for some time now, we began the planning process months ago," said Curtis Campbell, the district's spokesperson.

He said the pre-school cut was the result of administrators and school board members sitting down together to prioritize what could and couldn't be preserved from the budget reduction.

"Based on the budget recently passed by the state, preschool will be one of the areas we have decided to cut for this next school year," Campbell said.

"It's important to note that there are some programs and services that we are mandated by state law to provide, so when we looked at areas that could be cut we were limited to areas that the state does not fund,' he said. "Currently, the state does not fund preschool."

The cut impacts 122 children enrolled in the Sunnyside School District pre-school program.

"I would just suggest that parents who were planning on enrolling their children into our pre-school next year begin looking at other local pre-schools," Campbell said.

Besides students and their families, cutting the pre-school program will put eight district employees (four teachers and four para-educators) in a state of flux.

Campbell said the district would like to be able to re-assign the personnel to other schools in the district and not have to lay them off.

"We are hopeful that through attrition (retirements, one year contracts, people taking jobs elsewhere) that we will be able to absorb those pre-school teachers and para-educators into other teaching and para positions in our elementary schools," he said.


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