Preschool an option for new Falmouth elementary school

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FALMOUTH — The School Department hopes to utilize three classrooms in the new elementary school for limited preschool programs.

“We’re not in a position to offer a public preschool right now,” Superintendent Barbara Powers said. “We can’t think about offering that now, with the current economic climate.”

Instead, the district is planning to enlist state-run Child Development Services to run a preschool that offers programming for nine children with mild to moderate disabilities, and nine without disabilities. In exchange, Falmouth residents will get first dibs on the available spots.

“(CDS) would be doing all the management, the hiring, buying supplies,” Lunt School Principal John Flaherty, who would be the liaison between the school and CDS, said. “They would simply be physically in the building.”

Powers said the program will come at no expense to Falmouth taxpayers. The town would also not charge CDS more than overhead costs for use of a classroom.

Additionally, the school is proposing to offer a preschool facility for up to 30 children of students and staff members in the remaining two rooms.

“We put the word out as a feeler to our staff and got 28 children’s names in a couple of days,” Flaherty said.

However, he added, the school has not outlined what programming will be available and how much it will cost. Powers said the per-child costs will cover completely the expense of running the program.

“We’re past the days when we can give double-digit bonuses so we’re looking for other ways to attract and retain the high-quality staff,” Powers said.

She said the program would correspond with teachers’ schedules and allow them to fulfill their duties at school without having to worry about child-care schedules.

No current high school students need child care, Powers said, but the option would be available should students find themselves in that situation.

Flaherty said there would be three tiers of availability for the preschool: Tier 1 would offer spots to students and staff, Tier 2 for town employees and Tier 3, should any spots remain, would be for Falmouth residents.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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