The current school board put a bond to the voters a couple years ago to construct a new first class building to expand the district’s pre-kindergarten program. The bond passed, the school was built on the site of the old Bowie Elementary, and the board committed to providing full-day, high quality PreK for all the kids in our district. So where state and federal politicians talk about early childhood, our community did something to make it a reality. The official ribbon cutting for Bonham PreK School is this Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 at 1225 Highway 123. I’d love for you to join me to celebrate this big moment for our district. There is more information available on this link: http://www.smcisd.net/news.cfm?story=2283&school=0
Now comes the hard part – funding the program. In years past, students whose parents made under a certain income threshold could attend for a half-day, and the costs were picked up by state and federal dollars. Now, we are providing a full day of instruction for all low-income kids in the district, but the district is not receiving any additional revenue to fund the additional expenses. That means money that could be spent on elementary or secondary grades will be redirected to PreK. Mark Eads has consistently held that this is an investment that must be made. Yes, but I would like additional revenue sources to cover this investment so it did not come out of the other grades. I hope that the Texas legislature provides additional PreK funding this session, but if they do not, it will be left to the future trustees and this community to create alternate revenue streams to offset this cost so that our community can provide high quality PreK without taking money from other grades. The ribbon cutting for the building is a big moment for the district, but there is more work to be done.