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Preschool key to successes

The foundation being built for students in the Rock Hill School District may be cracking and could be in serious jeopardy without more community and governmental support.

Administrators in the district are facing some tough choices in regards to its preschool program, an educational program that has proven results but an expensive price tag.

The center costs more than $1 million a year to operate and the bulk of that comes directly from the district’s general fund.

Right now, the center isn’t even close to a break-even proposition. It loses more than $600,000 each year.

From a business position, the decision is clear that you would make drastic cuts or eliminate it entirely.

From an educational standpoint, that simply doesn’t add up.

Students who participate in the program consistently score higher on the state proficiency tests, a clear indicator that these children are learning even before they get to kindergarten and gaining a stronger foundation for future success.

Superintendent Wes Hairston is looking at a variety of options to tighten the belt and increase funding including seeking federal aid.

The big catch phrase of years past was “No Child Left Behind.” This is a chance for the government to help make sure that doesn’t happen.

But the other thing that must occur is the community must rally around this program. Last year, 125 students were enrolled. If that number doubled, it would help offset the costs and better justify the expense.

This program has proven to be important for the district and beneficial for its students.

Now, the district must find a way to continue to pay for this and get more students as part of this foundation.