Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2000

Preschool program to be discontinued

April 20, 2000

A school-sponsored preschool program in DeSoto will be discontinued next year after it failed to become financially independent during a two-year trial period.

Generations Preschool at Countryside Elementary began as a pilot program two years ago. District officials agreed then to partially finance the program in partnership with Ottawa University. The preschool was to be used as a learning tool for Ottawa students and DeSoto High School students interested in early childhood development.

Assistant Superintendent Sharon Zoellner told board members last week that the program was approved two years ago with the hope that it would become financially independent.

"It has not become self-funded. The district spends between $50,000 and $80,000 a year on the program out of the school's general fund," she said.

Interest in the program by DeSoto students has been minimal and the partnership the district hoped to form with Ottawa University has been disappointing, she added.

"We had one student in the program last year and no students this year," she said. "And Ottawa's participation has been less than exemplary."

Zoellner said she wanted a decision to be made now so parents of the preschool children would have time to find other arrangements for next year.

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