"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Preschool Spending Out of Control

The Newark Preschool Council is laying off up to 30 food-service workers to combat a $2.4 million budget deficit. The council is the largest provider of Head Start services in the state, serving 2,311 children at 45 sites with a budget of $27 million in state and federal funding. More here.

The Newark Preschool Council “prepares three to five year-olds for kindergarten” at a cost of $12,722 per child. The average cost per high school student in New Jersey is $11,313, the highest average in the nation. We are spending $1,400 more a year to prepare a child for kindergarten than to prepare a child for college or the world of work. Does this make sense? Is it efficient to provide services at 45 sites, with an average of 51 preschoolers per location?

This brings us to another big question - how effective has the Council been in achieving its objectives? Would it surprise you to learn that this agency has been preparing the children of Newark for kindergarten for 40 years? The record would suggest the Newark Preschool Council has failed miserably in its mission.

The Council is currently looking for a new
Director of Finance, Chief Financial Officer, perhaps a step in the right direction given the program’s budget deficits. However, we suggest more than a new CFO is needed to save the children and the taxpayers of New Jersey from the Newark Preschool Council boondoggle. The citizens of New Jersey must hold our politicians accountable and demand the immediate overhaul of bloated, failing preschool programs throughout the state. We can not afford to overlook this problem any longer.



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