Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Not All Bad News

Back home to a snippet of good news from the state. First, backstory: I joined the school board when Olivia was 3 or 4 with the objective of getting a Pre-K program there. Dryden was then one of the last to get on board with such a program, and money was beginning to be available from the state. I lost my first vote on the topic, and it took another ten years and two more superintendents to get the program started. The first year, Dryden fielded enough kids to fill a classroom plus, so they got money for one classroom. The second year, they had a rise in interest and asked for money for two classrooms, which they received. The third year, numbers declined somewhat, meaning that only one classroom could be filled. (Our primary numbers have been in decline for some time, so this doesn't really reflect on the program itself.)

Perhaps in previous years, this would have been fine, but in today's Account-for-Every-Dime New York, moving from two classrooms to one counts as Failure to Maintain Program. In the budget for 2011-12, Dryden's Pre-K funding was cut back to $34K--not enough to cover one classroom.

So the principal got on the horn to state ed, and I got on email to our legislators, and this week, Senator Seward, R-Oneonta, came through with a check to cover the program for next year plus a bill to maintain our program and other such programs despite our apparent failure to thrive. As I read the bill (and I'm happy to have others do so and translate for me), we can't grow the program, but the state can't shrink it, either, a compromise that isn't ideal but will do. The bill passed the Senate yesterday. (I guess it was easier to stomach than gay marriage.) And Pre-K lives to serve 16 kids annually for at least a few years to come.

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