Taxpayers of Lyme and Old Lyme Opposed to Pre-K Expansion in the 2019/2020 Budget
We, residents and taxpayers in Lyme and Old Lyme, ask our Board of Education to reconsider bringing forth a budget that includes $380,000 in funds to expand the existing peer-to-peer pre-K program at Center School. We applaud the district’s effort to ensure all children in town are receiving quality Pre-K programming, however we have concerns that the proposed program, that comes with a large price-tag, does not yet exist in a form that addresses those few children in town who are at risk of entering kindergarten without exposure to Pre-K.
We ask our Board of Education to demand more transparency from the Pre-K Expansion Committee to fully understand the motivations that produced this expansion in its current design; a design that will make it inaccessible for children of working parents, undesirable for parents who do not wish to send their 4-year-old to school five full days a week, and will do serious harm to both Old Lyme Children’s Learning Center and the Grasshopper Green Preschool, preschools that reliably produce children who are more than ready to handle the demands of kindergarten.
We ask The Board of Education and Pre-K committee to consider alternative designs of this program that might include some of the following:
- A modification of the current peer-to-peer matching system that might give children otherwise at risk of not attending pre-K preferred admission to those children whose families have options for private pre-K
- A sliding scale for tuition to both allow access to those families of lower SES and to allow the long standing successful pre-K’s in town to compete.
The residents of the towns of Lyme and Old Lyme were never asked if this was a program that we wanted our schools to provide and our tax dollars to support. We understand the struggle students who do not have access to preschools face when entering kindergarten, and we believe that these are children the district should be trying to reach. It would be difficult to say that a $380,000 expense with a goal to reach less than 20 students district wide would have that desired effect. We believe there are less costly modifications that can be made to the existing program that might go a long way towards reaching those children.
We ask the Board to remove the $380,000 expense and provide a new 2019/2020 budget that does not include the Pre-K expansion to allow the Pre-K committee an additional year to develop plans with local organizations that can provide before and after care and work out the logistics associated with transporting 4-year-olds, to consider options for partial days and weeks that may make this program more desirable to some members of the community, and to engage with the community to discuss issues like sliding-scale tuition, the goals and curriculum of this new pre-K program and to answer the questions that parents and community members have.
Taxpayers in Lyme and Old Lyme asking for fiscal responsibility from our Board Of Education with the 2019/2020 Region 18 School Budget
* Please NOTE - we have had trouble with this site collecting signatures and have started a second campaign: https://www.change.org/p/taxpayers-of-lyme-and-old...
Please feel free to sign BOTH or go to the new petition on change . org