Though the ELC received around $521,000 in state pre-k funds to operate this school year, Lamb said it would be ideal for the local program to receive an additional $250,000 per school year.
“The funding that pre-k provides is not really enough to operate the program in Baldwin County at 100 percent, but grantees who accept the grant commit to making it work,” she said. “We’re sharing resources and the facility with HeadStart; we’re being efficient and pulling resources together. If we had more money, we could open another classroom. We could enroll more students if pre-k wasn’t sharing resources.”
The cost of daytime programs combined in one school year at the ELC is $81,000.
“When you’re getting that cut from funding, you’re feeling that exponentially,” Lamb said.
With the ELC operating on the Baldwin County school system’s calendar, Lamb said deliberations of the legislative session are being monitored, but will maintain the 176-day school year regardless of lawmakers’ decisions.
“We will operate on the regular school calendar because we’re still part of the Baldwin County school system. If we still stay at 176 days, it’s still meeting those seat time requirements,” she said. “We have to wait to hear back from the state level and determine what our budgets can support to make the next school calendar. By the time the General Assembly is done, it could even be in May by the time we set our calendar.”
Deal’s recommended budget for FY14 also includes a 3 percent increase for HOPE recipients.
“Parents and teachers need to emphasize with their local legislators the importance of birth to age 5 population because they can’t speak for themselves. Two years ago when Gov. Deal announced cuts for pre-k, it was on the coattails of the HOPE scholarship. I’m not sure if they understand the impact of dollars in that fashion. [Lt. Gov.] Casey Cagle is doing a fabulous job; he really has the children’s best interest at heart.”
To read Deal’s recommended budget report in full, visit www.opb.georgia.gov/governors-budget-reports.
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