Gov. Nathan Deal has proposed legislation that will cut millions of dollars from Georgia's pre-k program, which offers free pre-k to 4- and 5-year-olds.
The legislation is expected to pass in a few weeks and be in effect this fall.
Some of the changes he has proposed are pretty promising. Putting $4.2 million towards increasing the quality of pre-k and $4.5 million for at-risk extended day flat (after school care). It also adds 5,000 slots to the program to help accommodate the 9,000 kids on the waiting list.
What seems to be the largest contributor to cutting spending is cutting the pre-k day from 6.5 hours to 4 hours by removing rest time and reducing meal and routine time. I can't understand why a 4- or 5-year-old needs to be at school for 6.5 hours a day to begin with.
The shorter day was a pleasant surprise for me. I found myself, regrettably, kinda glad they are making the changes. Now, I can send my kid for a few hours a day. I can get a break and she can be exposed to "school life."
Then I discovered the program was started as an at-risk program. The program was not started with stay-at-home moms, who need to get a break from the ever annoying "why?" in mind. The program was started for, I think, the parents who fund it. The parents who buy lottery tickets with their last dollar, hoping to win big because it seems to be their only hope.
The ones who can't afford to send their child to pre-k and can't afford to stay home with them. The mom who can't stop working in the middle of the day to go pick up her child. The parents who are, for whatever reason, unable to provide their own children with the school readiness skills I have been lucky enough to have the means to provide my children with.
My children will be prepared for kindergarten and probably go on to college with or without the free pre-k. These cuts do not effect my child's education as much as they effect the education of children with poor or single working moms and dads. These changes could change the course of their lives.
In the last fiscal year, the Georgia Lottery took in more than $3.6 billion and gave $883.9 million in profit to the state for education.
This may account for the president of the Georgia Lottery receiving a bonus of $236,500 in addition to her $286,000 salary, as well as the four percent raises the lottery’s 260 employees received this past year. However, all of the reasons funding for pre-k education is being cut by millions of dollars, are lost on me. At this point, I do not know if I want to send my child to free pre-k, taking the much needed spot from an at risk child.
Besides, I've never bought a lottery ticket.