Budget Shuts Down Pre-School Programs

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Some of our state's most at-risk four-year-olds, Whose only way to go to pre-school was through a free state-funded program, may have to give up that schooling.

"Half the funding was lost," explains Michelle Nicholson, who heads the Ingham ISD Early Childhood Education. "But it wasn't a 50 percent cut across the board. It means some programs have their funding cut totally."

That means nearly 300 children in Ingham County can no longer go to the pre-school program they either were planning on attending or were already attending this year. Nicholson says the state's school aid budget slashed funding for the "Great Start Readiness Program." Now some at-risk or low-income families have to quickly find somewhere else to put their kids.

"It's very difficult to make alternative plans. With high unemployment rate, a lot of families can't afford to pay for alternative programs," Nicholson says.

In Ingham County, the "Y-Care" program at the Oak Park YMCA has lost all its funding. And in Jackson County, A New Horizon Childcare, ABC Academy, Community Action Agency, Jackson Child Care Center and Jackson Community Preschool now no longer offer the Great Start Readiness Program-- not to mention others that lost partial funding.

The governor, who signed that budget, says new revenue is their only hope and urges people affected to call their legislators and ask that they be open to finding new money to fill the gaps.

"The biggest loss is for the children. This is an opportunity for them to be better prepared to enter kindergarten and to develop the skills they need," Nicholson says.

But with alternatives like head start virtually full, parents may be left to their own devices to make sure their kids aren't left in the dust.

The Great Start Readiness Program cuts are also affecting the Lansing School District. We're told the district had asked for additional funds this year to start seven new preschool classes. They recently learned they didn't receive that funding. Now parents have to find new schools to put their preschoolers in because an LSD spokesman says their pre-school classes are full.

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  • by Jason Location: Battle Creek on Oct 29, 2009 at 11:43 AM
    Governor Jennifer Granholm launched Project Great Start in her first State of the State address in February 2003. The governor described this new initiative as a movement that challenges us all to recognize that education begins at birth, not when a child enters school. Project Great Start (PGS) seeks to coordinate both public and private efforts to achieve common objectives and measurable results for Michigan’s youngest children. PGS encompasses both immediate action and creating a blueprint, or strategic plan, for Michigan’s early childhood system of programs, services, and supports for all children from birth to age five. TODAY SHE CUT IT. SHE JUST DON"T NEED VOTES ANY MORE PEOPLE, IT's ALL ABOUT HER. WHEN SHE IS DONE SHE WILL GO BACK TO CANADA WITH HER BAG OF MONEY EXCHANGE IT AND LAUGH. NOW MY 4 YEAR OLD TWINS PAY THE PRICE AND MICHIGAN PAYS THE PRICE IN 15 YEARS. OH CANADA! Check it out for yourself at http://www.michigan.gov/greatstart
  • by Sara Location: Charlotte on Oct 28, 2009 at 10:42 AM
    That's okay maybe you can all move to Charlotte where we got the funding for the program but the school district won't run it because they are going to take the money for the pre-schoolers and put it in for the shortfall of the k-12 budget! How nice, don't worry about the kids that need pre-school, just put that money where ever you want. And all the while, make sure that we fund the MSP building to keep Joel happy so that our kids schools don't have money. I couldn't be much madder right now.
  • by Linda Location: YMCA of Lansing on Oct 28, 2009 at 08:56 AM
    CORRECTION: The Y-Care Children's Center at the Oak Park YMCA in Lansing has NOT lost its funding. "Great Start Readiness" is the only programs offered through Y-Care that has experienced funding cuts. Contact Kristy @ Oak Park Y-Care, 517.827.9636 for information.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2009 at 07:20 AM
    What are our elected official have been smoking for the last 7 years. If they started doing budget cuts when Granholm first went into office, she would look like a genius now. Now they are all playing the blame game.
  • by Carol Location: Lansing on Oct 28, 2009 at 06:44 AM
    This is sad. Educational funding should never be cut. This money has got to come from somewhere else. The government has got to stop taking from the working poor. Taking free educational opportunities from any child is absolutely uncalled for. I see the lottery gives away an outrageous amount of money in winnings. Where is the lottery pot for education? Where is that money going? Stop taking away from the working poor. Leave education and human services a lone, for ONCE, just ONCE or FOREVER, leave those alone during budget cut time. Find other places to cut.
  • by A mom Location: Lansing on Oct 28, 2009 at 06:31 AM
    I am so upset about this. The republicans refuse to talk restructuring or additional revenue. And they are hosing kids. There is no better investment in our states citizens than ensuring they are educated, and early education costs less in the long run. We are paying 12% - 30% less in this state in taxes, and revenues are way down mostly due to losing $1million auto jobs and manufacturing base, in addition to a national economic collapse. We cannot blame that on our current Governor. I refuse to let our state become some back woods backwards inbred Mississippi. I am willing to pay a penny on bottled water to keep the safety net intact, and to move our state forward. A lot of good things happening, this is not one of them.
  • by sue Location: mich on Oct 28, 2009 at 05:28 AM
    High risk & low income.Once again look who gets hurt.The ones forcing Jen in this matter are the ones that say NO new kind of TAXES.Republicans?I still say taxing things people don't need is the only way to help gain TAX money for this state.Bishop rather hit the poor hard.All please remember this at voting time.Many should not be voted in office election time.I really think some money has never made it where it goes.No one shows us the real facts.Once again if the gov people do not use or need a program why should they fund it?Our money is their money.They spend it as they feel.WE have NO say.Poverty is just spreading in Mi.I do not understand why the government don't get jobs in here.Nothing will be fixed with out jobs.Then again I see many reasons Jobs do NOT want to come to MI.If we wait for just GREEN jobs we will be waiting for yrs.
  • by St. James Location: St. Johns on Oct 28, 2009 at 05:19 AM
    People seem pretty upset when the government lets them down. How are you going to feel about your health care when it's turned over to the government??? KEEP ASKING THEM TO TAKE CARE OF YOU, KEEP BEING DISAPPOINTED!!!
  • by Richard L Schnarr Location: grand ledge on Oct 28, 2009 at 12:06 AM
    I would prefer, that you, the governor, take a stance that we adjourn state legistlature for 30 days at a time without pay.. till you come up with a program that does not effect the education process.. remember where lottery dollars were supposed to go?? i do remember!!! This state has a problem, not the economy, but because of government inaction and J G you are it!!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 27, 2009 at 07:59 PM
    "The governor, who signed that budget, says new revenue is their only hope and urges people affected to call their legislators and ask that they be open to finding new money to fill the gaps."--NO NO NO NO SHE needs to get out there and put a foot up people, "no child left behind" "no education cuts" what is this. MAKE IT HAPPEN YOUR THE GOVERNOR
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