Pre-School for All Funding
One of the big nail-biters in CPS right now is whether or not the Pre-School for All program will be cancelled for the upcoming school year due to Illinois budget cuts.
The Pre-School for All program was created a couple years ago by our buddy Rod Blagojevich (in fact I even saw Patti B brag about it on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.”) The program provided free half-day pre-school. The main priority is to provide early education for at-risk kids who need a little boost before Kindergarten. The reality is that the program has become one of the hottest tickets in town in some neighborhood schools. The number of classes available varies from school to school. Some full schools (such as Bell) don’t have any room to house the pre-school program. Neighborhood families want priority, but a school doesn’t necessarily need to give it to them. So the end result has been some pissed off parents in various schools who haven’t gotten their child into the free program for this Fall.
But throwing everyone for a loop, the whole program has been suddenly put in jeopardy due to the looming budget cuts. This could leave (reportedly) 30,000 kids without preschool this fall and many teachers without jobs on short notice. Bad situation overall.
It sounds like the state Board of Ed recommended this cut but now Gov Quinn has the opportunity to override it.
The article says:
Quinn said Monday he’s now hoping to reverse a recommendation by the State Board of Education to cut pre-school for 30,000 youngsters.
“Well the State Board of Education made that recommendation, but I have the final say. So we’re going to be reviewing everything,” Quinn said.
Hopefully somebody will get their act together soon and make a decision about this (and not a week before school starts for crying out loud.) I’ll post news if I hear anything.
UPDATE FROM A READER:
I watched a press conference a couple of days ago and the Governor added $85 million to early childhood education. I think that increases the chances that Preschool for All programs will continue this year. I couldn’t find a link to the new budget, but I’ve got a pdf copy that I pulled from somewhere the day of the event. I hope the state and CPS can quickly tell schools whether any programs will not be funded this year or next year so parents can decide where to apply.