Supporters of Project Enlightenment are hoping that the program's potential budget cuts won't be lost amid all the talk about calendars and student assignment policy.
As noted in today's article, parents and preschool directors are worried that Project Enlightenment will take a major hit when the superintendent's budget proposal for the 2010-11 fiscal year is presented Tuesday. More than 1,000 people have joined a "Save Project Enlightenment" Facebook group.
Project Enlightenment is part of the Central Services budget for the upcoming year that Supt. Del Burns ordered in November be cut by $20 million.
The argument from supporters of Project Enlightenment, which serves children from birth through kindergarten, is that the program saves money. They say that identifying and addressing problems early on can reduce the need for the school system to provide costly special-education services later.
It's probably more likely that Project Enlightenment would only lose some of its school district funding rather than all the dollars. But with the program getting 71 percent of its $3 million budget from the school system, a cut would reduce the services it can provide.
The program's supporters have been blitzing school board members, who've told them that they haven't seen the budget yet because it's a staff proposal.
School board member John Tedesco has told Project Enlightenment's supporters he'll push to keep the program from being cut. He said there have to be other programs with lower priorities that can be cut ahead of Project Enlightenment.
Tedesco said they won't know which other programs might be cut until after they see the budget. But in a year where more layoffs are expected, it won't be easy finding the money.
Some of you guys are probably wondering why Tedesco is being quoted again for a school story. It's because parents who've been lobbying the board say that he and Ron Margiotta are the only ones they've heard back from so far.
In Margiotta's case, parents say he's told them to direct concerns to staff because it's not in the board's hands yet.
As folks who lobbied last year to save funding for Richard Milburn High School and the 10 site coordinators for Communities in Schools can attest, having good arguments doesn't necessary win the day.