T&G board approves pre-K plan

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SUNDERLAND — The Taconic & Green Regional School District Board approved a pre-kindergarten recommendations at its meeting Tuesday night.

In the T&G's ongoing effort to bring equity to the district, the board approved Bennington Rutland Supervisory Union Superintendent Jackie Wilson's recommendation that the district fund an additional five hours of pre-K for 4-year-olds in private approved providers for the 2019-20 school year.

That means parents with a 4-year-old in a licensed private program next year would get 15 hours of paid pre-K instead of the 10 currently in place.

The increase in cost for this will only be $17,906

because of a difference in budgeted increase versus reality.

BRSU Business Manager Sue Wilborn said the district's actual spending versus its budgeted spending provided a favorable variance of $48,244. With the cost of the additional five hours of 4-year-old pre-K services running $66,150, the actual increase for the district will be $17,906.

Wilborn stressed that all numbers are estimates at this point because some factors can't be known yet, but it's estimated the rate to private providers would be close to $6 per hour. Wilborn said Wilson had talked with most of the private providers and most all of them had said they were OK with that rate.

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Wilson's proposal is only for 4-year-olds in private programs. It has nothing to do with the Manchester Elementary Middle School issue that fired up earlier in the year when there was talk of reducing the MEMS' program from full-time to a variety of part-time offerings.

That plan brought many parents and other concerned residents to Town Meeting and T&G board meetings, which had the board voting to work to find a solution.

That problem disappeared, however, when only 26 students confirmed participation in the pre-K program at MEMS, below the maximum space available.

That means the district has no need to pursue an expansion as had been the plan.

Both the additional 5 hours for 4-year-olds and the school-based programs are one-year plans and the district will be working on a long-term plan.

"A more equitable, long term solution is needed," Wilson said in her proposal. "We will bring forth a proposal in the fall as part of the budget process."

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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