February 12, 2016

S-S Board reinstates pre-k


STANDISH — The state of Michigan government restored funding for pre-kindergarten programs after it was widely believed the state funds wouldn’t be available, and the Standish-Sterling School Board wasted little time reinstating the program, as it voted 7-0 at its Monday meeting to start the program again.

Sterling Elementary Prin-cipal Clinton Potts, who heads the program, said the state is partially funding the program up front, offering up $102,000, while in the past it provided $122,000; but Potts added that the amount will probably return fully in December.

Potts said the boost back to the full amount would come from getting state pre-k funds not used by school districts throughout the state last year.

He told the board, though, that the decision had to be made Monday night.

“If you don’t decide tonight that you want the program, then you have decided,” he said.

According to Potts, the program would be a little different than past year’s pre-k programs.

“We won’t be able to do a 30-week program. We can run a 28-week program,” he said, adding that the class may not be as large as it was in other years, but might end up four students short of the regular class size of 36.

Superintendent Michael Dodge said one difficulty in getting the program up and running mid-year would be getting parapros to help out in classrooms daily.

“That parapros (that were working pre-k) have been placed elsewhere,” Dodge said. “Worst-case scenario, you’d have two more to hire.”

He added the cost of hiring parapros would be covered with the state funding.

The board also said approximately $40,000 out of the district’s general fund would also be earmarked for pre-k.

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