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Why does ConVal need pre-K?

To the editor:

So Conval wants yet another Pre-Kindergarten program for 3-4 year olds. There are already three such Conval programs located in Antrim Elementary and Greenfield Elementary. The SAU does not like to reveal facts about these programs such as cost and numbers of children involved. Nor does it wish taxpayers to know that they are basically subsidizing childcare for parents of children who are not identified but attend these programs.

The most recent data I have is for 2010 when there were 14 identified children in the three programs and 15 to 20 non-identified students. I invite the SAU to give the latest numbers as well as the current fees paid by the parents of non-identified children.

The fees for the 2011-12 year were: 3 days per week, $125 per month; 4 days per week, $160 per month; 5 days per week, $200 per month.

At 3 hours per day, the 3-day program works out to a cost of $3.47per hour. The 4 or 5 day program is $3.33 per hour.

I doubt anyone can locate ordinary babysitting at those prices, much less a program with certified teachers and Conval resources. With rates are far below any other pre-school in the area, Conval is undercutting our local private businesses.

Taxpayers may have to pay for the identified children because it is a federal mandate but why are we subsidizing the others?

The cost is far from trivial. The three existing pre-schools have a net cost after tuitions of about $220,000. Adding a new program will bring the cost to taxpayers to more than $300,000. Why four programs? Why not consolidation?

Considering that the Conval Articles of Agreement do not even authorize Pre-K programs perhaps it is time to ask the voters.

Gail Cromwell

Temple

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