Decreases in state funding and empty seats in some Pre-k classes could mean the county school system will have to eliminate at least one site next year.
“Every single classroom is at least $8,000 or more in deficit this year,” said Preschool Coordinator Tina Dalton. “Lawsonville is $24,000 in the hole this year. We have figured out how to cover those losses this year but I will not be able to do that next year.”
Dalton said the school system gets funding from the state for the programs, but that that funding has been reduced.
“The only thing we could possibly look at is that we could consider offering a fee for service for the public,” she said. “We opened it up as a fee for service for employees last year. But we would not be able to charge the market rate because we do not have before or after school care. If we did that then we would need to have to look at overtime.”
She said if the school system had to close a Pre-K site it would have detrimental impact on students.
“You still have students who desperately need Pre-K,” she said. “If we close one it will impact school readiness for kindergarten.”
Director of Special Programs Traci Royal said the school system may not have much choice.
“Without additional funding we would have to close at least one site,” she said. “The two classrooms that do not look full for next year are Lawsonville and Pine Hall.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.