Early childhood screening goes on amidst budget uncertainty - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Early childhood screening goes on amidst budget uncertainty

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With Quincy Public Schools making cuts and the sequester's forced cuts on top of it, Early Childhood right here in Quincy is facing uncertainty even as it has to choose which children will be eligible for programs next school year in screenings today.

"We try to focus on the future and keep moving ahead so we continue with screenings," said QPS director of early childhood Julie Schuckman. "And we'll do that through the summer. Right now we're planning on having a school year next year similar to this year."

Similarities include the cutting of pre-k for the 3 year olds, something the district had to cut this year as well because of the state's payments being delayed.

With three sources of funding: district, state, and federal grant monies, Schuckman says nothing is set in stone until all the budgets are set as well.

But she says QPS plans to operate the programs much like it did this year.

She doesn't anticipate cutting any additional jobs or kids unless absolutely necessary.

"We're just kind of waiting to do that and looking at some contingency plans hoping to avoid cutting slots for students and staff positions and just really tightening up on supplies and those type of things," said Schuckman.

Schuckman says additional cuts could be coming if the sequester continues on with the forced spending cuts.

As of now, she's received a number of a 5 percent cut from that.

But with the state being so far behind in paying its bills the school has chosen to abandon the pre-k program for three year olds again. Something it did this year as well.

If you're taking your child to screening today, screening coordinator Amy Longo says it's important not to get your kid too psyched about the process. In fact, she says, don't prep them at all.

"Tell them that they're going to play games," said Longo. "Not that they're going for a test because that kind of makes the kids a little nervous. So just tell them they're going to go play some games for school."

If you're unsure of what programs you may be interested in, Longo says not to worry. Just bring in your child and after about an hour they will sit down with you and let you know what programs could benefit your child as well as what they're eligible for.

And Longo says one exciting thing is that you can find out right then and there. She says they're sending off a few hundred of their kids to kindergarten so there are openings available and you can most likely find out today whether or not your child will be going.

When they go in, the kids will spend about an hour testing in motor, concept, and language areas.

After that you'll have a meeting with the administrators and that's when you'll know.

Today's screenings will go from 8:30 to 11:30 and from 12:30 to 3 o'clock.

They last about an hour.

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