ROME, N.Y - Could Rome's Pre-K could close if the 2019-2020 budget gets approved? The district's foundation aid funding is down by about 4% meaning cuts are needed for the upcoming budget year.
"One of the proposed cuts would be in our pre k program. Not the entire program but unfortunately we have a couple of special education programs that are extremely costly. We are one of the few programs in the area that has the program specifically because of the cost." The grants that come from the state relative to Pre-Kd don't even come close to covering the costs associated with the programs. Those two special education programs are unfortunately a proposition to the board as well as our Pre-K 3 program, said Peter Blake.
It would be a complete travesty if we cannot provide pre k programming especially to our three-year-olds," said Dana Benzo.
If the program does get cut, the children still attending Pre-K in Rome will have no-where to go for day care services.
"If the program closes, there are not many options for families. There are no a lot of private preschool programs in the Rome community and there are no daycare centers. So there is a huge population of the Rome community unable to have access to school settings and they will be at home with family or in family child care programs," said Benzo.
According to the superintendent, deciding which programs stay and which ones go is a difficult process.
"What you do is you look at all of the numbers, and when your gap is as large as ten million dollars, you usually start with the biggest ticket items which will help you close that gap the fastest. Then from there, you start piecemealing the rest of the programs to help them balance out. It's not an easy process to do, but it is the unfortunate case of going, It took us about 4 months to wade our way through that process," said Blake.
Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Buttenschon are working in Albany to try and find a resolution to the problem. The district has until April 23rd to approved the budget.