[UPDATE] Governor Deal Drafts New Plan

By: Donnitra Gilbert; AP Email
By: Donnitra Gilbert; AP Email

[UPDATE] 3-8 5:33 PM

"Georgia pre-k is vital to the success of our students in the future," Hand-in-Hand Principal Jeanna Mayhall.

Principals and Teachers at Hand-in-Hand preliminary school in Thomasville said they know the importance of having a strong educational foundation.

"When a child comes to us and they don't have any pre-k experience they come into kindergarten and they have a harder time socially,"
said kindergarten teacher Karen Sykes.

Earlier this month, Governor Deal presented a proposal that would slash hours from 6.5 to four, a proposal that didn't sit well with many.

"I really respect him for listening to the people and hearing our concerns and understanding that cutting half days will be difficult on the kids and parents," said Thomasville Parent Brandi Maranda.

The governor was sent back to the drawing board to draft up a new proposal this time changes will include shortening the Pre-k schedule from 180 to 160 days, increasing class sizes from 20 to 22 and cutting salaries by 10 percent.

"As a teacher I would have to consider if I can stay in Pre-k and take that 10 percent cut it would be hard for me and my husband and our baby on the way," said Pre-K Teacher Meredith Powell.

"More students in the classroom which is not the best scenario for children," said Pre-K Teacher Jami Butler.

In a news release issued by the Governor's office, the new proposal will save 54 million dollars.
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[UPDATE] 3-7 10:30am -- ATLANTA (AP) --

Gov. Nathan Deal is revamping plans to cut the state's prekindergarten program back to half-day after an outcry from parents and teachers.

Deal announced Monday that the program will remain a full day
but the school year will be cut from 180 days to 160 days. He also
will expand class sizes by two students each.

The moves will allow the state to cut $54 million while adding
10,000 slots to the pre-k program, which has a waiting list at
least that long.

The cuts are part of Deal's plan to keep lottery-funded programs, pre-k and the HOPE scholarship, from going broke.

Georgia was the first state to offer free full-day pre-k to any
4-year-old, but demand for the program has outgrown revenue from
the lottery.

______________________________

Updated 3-2-11 5:06 PM

Georgia parents say they're standing behind the lottery funded Pre-K program after Governor Nathan Deal said he plans to slash hours in an effort to save millions.

Governor Deal proposed cutting pre-k hours from 6.5 hours a day to four a day; a move he says will save the state more than 50 million dollars.

Reports show the program aids with fewer students being held back, dropping out of school and landing in special education classes.

"He was even doing some addition, reading just learned a massive amount .. I was very impressed at how much he learned and I just feel like my three year old should have the same opportunity as my oldest did," said Thomasville Parent Brandi Miranda.

Reports show that the state's retention rate over the last three years has dropped from 4.1 to 3.7 because of the Pre-K program.
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Next Tuesday Governor Deal will present his proposal to reduce the pre-k program from six and a half hours per day to four hours.

The proposal is expected to reduce or eliminate bonuses the lottery pays to its employees.

Reports show lottery revenue has been fairly flat over the past years and the state has spent millions of its reserve to cover costs. There are currently 236 pre-k students at Thomas County's Hand-in Hand .

"111 of those students qualify for category one status that means based on income they receive some type of assistance ... you cut our Pre-k program to 1/2 day we're looking at losing those students that we need to have in the program," said Hand-in-Hand Principal Jeanna Mayhill.

Reports show there are 84-thousand pre-k slots in public schools and private day care centers across the state.


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  • by Bob Location: Perry on Mar 9, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    This dawg won't hunt.
  • by ah03422 Location: GSU on Mar 9, 2011 at 09:06 AM
    I appreciate the Governor listening to the teachers and parents. I understand at the current budget crisis the state must make some choices, but I think education has been hit quite hard over the last few years. I don't think we should solve the budget crisis at the expense of our children. I have had three children attend the pre-k program in our county and I have been so pleased with my children at the end of their year in pre-k. The social aspects as well as the academic beginnings allow for a young child to become introduced to the school setting, while allowing them to have many hands on experiences that other children don't necessarily have in daycare. I have been in pre-k classrooms and they are definitely NOT babysitting. There is a sense of community and togetherness. The students and the teachers interact with one another in a positive way. It would be a shame to lose it!
  • by Daniel Webster on Mar 9, 2011 at 05:57 AM
    wese gonna lurn em how to speek inglish!!!
  • by omg on Mar 8, 2011 at 07:03 PM
    all special ed children are not unruly problem children. when a parent wants to be involved and the school isn't doing their part, then it is just as much the schools fault. i speak from personal experience i changed my kid's school and he made a complete change, because he ha teachers who cared as much as i did. don't judge all parents. some teachers label the kids because they dont want to take ut extra time, oe maybe they can't spend enough time because of all the deadlines, benchmarks they have to reach?
  • by wow on Mar 8, 2011 at 06:54 PM
    Kim I disagree, everyone does not use pre-k as a baby sitter. they have kindergarten kids looking up words in alphabetical order in a dictionary, come on...they want to accelerate learning and don't want to provide our kids with the necessary tools. I have a thought...Maybe if they cut out "free" daycare to people with no job or who are not in school, they could use that money to fund pre-k. If someone only works two days a week they should find a baby sitter, not use up government funds for to days when you have parents working full time jobs, snd paying for afterschool.
  • by Ga girl Location: Cairo on Mar 8, 2011 at 10:07 AM
    Again if something is not done about all the thugs that are in highschool. It all has to start at home. The kids today 90% have no upbringing. They are rude and uncaring if they pass or fail. No fault of their own, just learned it from the parents. Apple does'nt fall far from the tree. This world is going to self destruct itself. Just look at the generations coming up.
  • by mary Location: perry,fl on Mar 7, 2011 at 04:48 PM
    once again taking it out on the children.PARENT'S STAND STRONG AND DON'T LET THEM TAKE AWAY FROM THERE FURTHER OUR COUNTRY'S LEADERS NEED TO GET IT TOGETHER AND STOP ALL OF THIS MESS THAT OTHER LEADERS HAVE PUT US IN AND LEAVE OUR CHILDREN ALONE
  • by Georgia Boy Location: Cairo on Mar 7, 2011 at 01:30 PM
    Are parents concerned about their children learning or about someone keeping their children so they don't have to pay for day care for a couple of hours?
  • by Jane Location: Tallahassee on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:20 AM
    As if Georgians can afford to have any less education than they already receive. Dumb move.
  • by Latasha Gibson Location: Thomasville on Mar 3, 2011 at 01:43 PM
    Why would someone want to cut education that make no sense to me, we will be only hurting the children. The working parent will have to pay for day-care to watch there child for a couple of hours.
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