School board turns down offer of early preschool program
An offer of more than $200,000 to get an early preschool program for a dozen at-risk 3-year-olds off the ground in Mathews was politely turned down this week.
Tom Kinney, president of the Kids First Foundation, extended the offer during Tuesday’s meeting of the Mathews County School Board, which was held in the Mathews High School Media Center.
The reason for declining the $225,000 offer, several board members said, is because the division lacks the money to take over the program costs once the initial funding is spent and there are more immediate and pressing needs that are going unfulfilled.
“We don’t have the money,” school board member Jen Little said. “Even with a giant tax increase—which won’t happen—we still couldn’t afford it.”
She pointed to the failed roof over the Lee-Jackson Elementary School gymnasium as just one of the expenses for which the division will be hard pressed to find money. “We’re short positions,” she continued.
Earlier this year, the school board was excited about having a new building trades teacher at MHS, Little added, but she said that same teacher now finds himself without any supplies to teach his students. Instead of soliciting the community for donations for a 3-year-old early preschool program, the schools need to get in touch with local contractors and supply companies to provide the needed materials for that class.
“We’re broke,” she said. “We can’t even pay for what we’ve got.”