C-GS board considers preschool

CLYDE — During the special meeting of the Clyde-Green Springs Exempted Village School Board of Education Sunday evening, members discussed the possibility of the district running its own preschool program instead of North Point Educational Service Center.

Treasurer Meghan Rohde noted the district is in deficit spending and looking for ways to save money. She and Superintendent Dennis Haft have met with other districts that have taken over their own program to investigate any savings. Rohde said the deadline for a decision on the North Point contract is today and the issue was to appear on the agenda at the board’s monthly meeting Monday.

Rohde said she believes the district could save between $30,000 and $60,000 yearly by running its own program. Through North Point, the cost to the district for 2020 is $340,000. That includes teachers, aides and special education itinerate students.

The district would have to hire its own teachers and aides.

Haft explained that a memorandum of understanding would have to be agreed to with the teachers unions asking for the present staff to be kept in place for a one-year period before opening the positions to advertising.

Haft said the district would want to have a cohesive program for preschoolers to transition into kindergarten. The district pays for transportation costs now and the program carries a five-star rating.

Board member Mark Rosche said he was impressed by the five-star rating of the present program and was suspect of having the program in-house.

A number of teachers, aides and directors for the program were present and asked to share their thoughts about a change.

Special Education Director David Marchman said he felt the present program was doing well and had no way of knowing how a change would affect it. He said the staff works hard for the five-star rating and the teachers are committed.

Some people were concerned about a supervisor that constantly analyzes the program, monitors activities, schedules pre-school-centered trainings and licensure concerns.

Board member Trisha Prunty said, “Even if we go on our own, we can always go back if it doesn’t work out. Most other schools that have made the change have not gone back.”

Board President Matt Nicely stated, “If we do this, I want us to be all in. We need to get agreement from the teachers’ unions.”

In his summation, Haft said, “So, you are not concerned about cost savings but want a quality program.” Board members unanimously responded, “Both.”