Despite lobbying efforts by parents and school officials, the school board is expected to announce tomorrow the end of the prekindergarten program at Glendale Elementary School, thanks to budget cuts.
"The board made it's decision at the last meeting," said board Vice President Dorothy Chaney. "We said if we didn't get a supplemental budget from the county, then we would have to cut the program."
But parents say they still have not given up hopes of saving the program.
"We're definitely not giving up," said Sandra Younkin. "We're continuing with our efforts because we believe this involves more than just Glendale."
School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II asked the board at its Aug. 5 meeting to cut funding for the Glendale program after learning that the school system would have to absorb a cut of about $141,000 in state funding for non-mandated school programs. About $25,000 of the total cut is to come from the school system's prekindergarten programs.
"We know what the remedies are for those children who do not come to school prepared," Mrs. Chaney argued at the last board meeting in an effort to save the program. "It bothers me tremendously that the state can mandate programs and not supply the money for them."
But board member Jo Ann Tollenger argued, "How long can school systems continue to save programs by going to supplemental budgets? We're going to have to face this [cut] sooner or later. The question is when do we want to face it?"
After much debate, board members voted to end the program at Glendale, one of 10 schools in the county with a prekindergarten program. Glendale was selected because it has the fewest number of disadvantaged children among schools with prekindergarten classes.
At the same time, board members agreed to try to save the program by seeking additional funding from the county.
County Executive Robert R. Neall said last week that he would not transfer funds to the school system. Mr. Neall said he hoped the school system would be able to fund the program through its current budget.
But board members say the current budget barely funds the necessities needed to run the school system.
Mrs. Younkin said she believes that either the county or the school system has to come up with the $25,000 to save the program at Glendale.
"This is not just about Glendale," she said. "Once they start cutting this program, it will be just that much easier for them to continue cutting programs. Then there will be no prekindergarten program anywhere."
The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the school system headquarters, 2644 Riva Road in Annapolis. The public is invited.