Garrard told to provide extended preschool

August 24, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LANCASTER - Preschoolers currently attend classes two days per week in Garrard County elementary schools, but they could soon start attending school four days a week because of a mandate from the Kentucky Board of Education.

"We are required to provide preschool services four days a week," Superintendent Ray Woolsey told school board members Thursday after receiving a notice from Kentucky's education commissioner Gene Wilhoit. Woolsey said he will be meeting with Wilhoit this week to come to some agreement regarding the transition from the two-day to the four-day program.

Woolsey said the transition to extended preschool will not be cheap. "It will cost us $100,000. And that's not budgeted," he said.

If the district makes the change at mid-year, it will cost the district $50,000, he said. "The letter said I was to implement this immediately."


Woolsey said preschool will only be offered in half-day format. "We can't do four full days. We don't have the space," he said.

According to the current schedule, one group of children attends preschool on Mondays and Wednesdays, the other attends on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Garrard board chairman Joe Brown said there's not much time for instruction in the half-day format because children are fed breakfast, then a few hours later they are given lunch and sent home. "There's not much time to hit on academics," he said.

Woolsey said the preschool policy mandate was apparently passed over the summer. "We didn't get word of it," he said.

He also said he is concerned about how the longer preschool program will be implemented.

Jeff Cooper echoed that. "We need to help parents with the transition. Daycare is an issue," he said.

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