by Jennifer Sierra
There is a lot of talk and disappointment regarding the proposed cuts to the schools in the state of Kentucky. According to Superintendent Jay Brewer from Dayton Kentucky Independent Schools, “The proposed mid-year 4.5% cuts to our preschool program amounts to $11,209 for this school year. The cuts for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 amount to $22,417 each year. So the total cuts to our preschool budget over the next 2.5 years amounts to $56,044. We currently staff 2.5 teachers in our preschool programs. The $56,044 would certainly reduce staffing, thus reducing services and learning opportunities for children.”
Brewer went on to site scientific evidence of the importance of early childhood education. “We know that neuroscience has shown that the child’s brain is biologically primed to learn from experience and that early learning environments powerfully affect the architecture of the developing brain. A child’s executive skills (concentration, impulse control, mental flexibility, and working memory) are foundational and make later learning more efficient. Our local data shows that students who attended our preschool program are almost three times more likely to be ready for kindergarten verses not being ready.”
Brewer said, “I am hopeful that our policy makers catch up with the scientific research being done in the area of early childhood neuroscience. With the research indicating that 90% of a child’s brain develops before the age of 5, we can’t simply wait for students to show up for kindergarten “ready to learn.”
According to Superintendent of Bellevue Independent Schools Robb Smith the budget cuts will negatively impact the smaller schools districts the most. “2 of the 3 budgets proposed are not very kind to public education. We hopeful there is some compromise. Worst case scenario is a 4.5 % cut this year and 9% over the next 2 years. For a district our size that is pretty devastating especially in early childhood education. We don’t get hit on for transportation like some do but the cuts not only affect us now but it affects the future because you are hitting the youngest and most impressionable.”
There is a “Preschool Registration and Early Childhood Jamboree” being held on April 13th at Lincoln Elementary in Dayton, Kentucky from 5:30 – 7:30. Please be sure to attend if you have children that are preschool age.
If you want to make a difference on this issue, please contact your local representatives and let them know how you feel.