City restores pre-school funding - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

City restores pre-school funding

By Jola Szubielski - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We have an update to bring you on a story we brought you a few months ago. One local pre-school dependent on city funding is getting a second chance. Money that was originally cut from the budget has been restored to the Neighborhood Resource Center which houses the Montessori Pre- School program.

Thanks to City Council's efforts and parent's persistence, $30,000 has been restored to the pre-school budget allowing programs here to continue.

The city originally proposed cutting funding to the Neighborhood Resource Center, saying the pre-school program didn't fit in with City's child initiatives.

Faced with a shortfall of $30,000, Executive Directors of the Resource Center say they would have no other option but to pass on the cost to parents already struggling. And for the parents, these 16 young reasons were enough to fight back.

"The parents left work early, came on their lunch breaks to talk to the media, to the Mayor, to let City Council know how important the pre-school was for their kids," said Annette Cousins, Co-Executive Director.

Their efforts paid off. City council restored the funding, 1/4 of the center's overall budget. And while the Mayor had 2 weeks to veto Council's decision, the money stayed.

And with it, Cousins says, a priceless investment into early childhood education.

"There aren't any head starts or VPI sites in Greater Fulton, they're all in Church Hill, and since there isn't any transportation to get there, this is the only place that families have where they can get a high quality education at a low cost so they can afford it and make sure their children are ready to enter kindergarten," said Cousins.

And while the funding is secured for the next two years, already the Co-Executive Directors are ramping up to secure their future well beyond that.

"We're always looking for more sustainable ways, reaching out to more individuals, letting them know the center is so important to the East End," Cousins said.

This was the first time the Montessori Pre-School had to face the possibility of cuts and the Executive Directors say they're hopeful it will be the last.

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