Absurdity of KCSD spending

“Is it absurd to want to educate a four year old?”

This was a question posed by Keystone Central School District Superintendent Kelly Hastings in her welcoming comments at last week’s finance meeting. This line of questioning was an attempt to deter any possible debate about the district’s spending habits that may have contributed to it’s $6 million deficit this coming year.

In her defense, who wouldn’t agree that sharing the gift of knowledge with our littlest learners is most certainly a rewarding and worthwhile endeavor?

Nobody. In fact, many of us likely know a child who is enrolled in the district’s newly minted Pre-Kindergarten program and we are just as delighted by their blossoming intellect. But sadly, our school district has begun to cut vocational classes, world languages, tutoring, curriculum writing and materials, and Title I teachers in efforts to fund this single program that services 90 children for $700,000 to $800,000 per year.

Considering the fact that they were $6 million in debt last year and needed to withdraw from their reserve funds, perhaps it was a poor time to implement such a program. Now we are faced this year with identical financial shortfalls and still nobody is willing to put the brakes on the Pre-K program.

Rest assured that there have always been plenty of community programs and preschools that have successfully operated Pre-K classrooms in our area. However, these programs will not be able to survive much longer if they are forced to compete with a districtwide program that promises longer hours of care and transportation.

But if the school district would simply cease and desist their ambush on these long loved community programs, they could continue to educate our early learners … albeit without some of the arbitrary conveniences. The district would benefit from the savings and be able to better serve its K-12 students.

So no, Mrs. Hastings, it is not absurd to want to educate a four year old. It IS absurd to allow our district to operate a program it cannot afford to do a task that it does not need.

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