Quincy's Early Childhood Center starts school year with cuts
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -
Quincy's little ones are heading off to school Friday, many for the first time ever. The five day pre-k students begin school Friday. But on Monday, it'll be a full house with Head Start kids joining them.
But with the Federal Sequester in effect, the Early Childhood program has had to make major cutbacks.
Director Julie Schuckman says she's still thankful that she didn't have to cut out any students.
"We are one of the few programs across the nation that were able to do that," said Schuckman. "But our staff really worked hard to find cuts in other areas to be able to manage that."
The program was forced to cut several support staff positions. The rest of the cuts came in the way of supplies and other funds.
"We tightened other funds like travel and mileage and those type of things; Anything we could just to make sure we did not have to cut slots for kids to be able to come," said Schuckman.
Schuckman says teachers will be very frugal this year with their supplies, stretching them out and reusing things as much as they can. And she says teachers are spending more on their classrooms out of their own pockets so the kids don't go without. She says the community has just really stepped up and come together to donate items and kids won't notice much difference.
Something she says kids may notice this year though, are larger class sizes. But not by a lot. Schuckman says due to the staff reductions, classrooms might grow by one or two kids.
But Schuckman was all smiles when she talked about the school year.
"We have a theme this year that we're 'changing, growing, learning,' and I think that happens every day," said Schuckman. "And there's no better feeling than the first day of school so we can't be more excited and none of us will sleep the night before just like the kids."
Schuckman says Early Childhood can always use donations and she says the community has just really come together to make this happen. But she says the program is always in need of things like wipes, Kleenex, play dough, glue sticks, and scissors.