5.3% increase proposed in Northumberland school budget…


 …could cover Pre-K expansion

by Audrey Thomasson

LOTTSBURG—Discussions are under way about whether to expand Northumberland County’s pre-kindergarten from the current half day program to a full day. The cutoff for enrolling 4-year-olds for the fall term is next Wednesday, March 15.

At last Monday’s school board budget work session, members voted for a $17.7 million budget that includes expanding the pre-kindergarten classes to a full day, 8 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.

A survey is under way to determine parents’ preferences for extending to a full day or remaining with a half day program. The hours for the half-day program are 8 a.m. to noon for upper county residents and noon to 3:25 p.m. for lower county residents.

“The community has indicated they are very interested in the full day,” said superintendent Dr. Holly Wargo.

Additionally, the board is considering the addition of a program for ‘at risk’ 3-year-olds. The budget includes a $100,000 contribution from Kid’s First to add a 3-year-old program for underprivileged kids. Kids First supports early childhood development.

“We are exploring that option,” said Wargo. “We will need the blessing of the board of supervisors first and we will have to make sure the program is still available from Kid’s First.”

Wargo said the 4-year-old program must first extend to a full day before Kids First can be considered.

Registration for 4-year-old Pre-K will be from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 13, at Northumberland Elementary School, 757 Academic Lane, Claraville.

Children must be age 4 by September 30, 2017, to qualify. Parents must provide a birth certificate, proof of residency and most recent immunization record at the time of registration. A preschool physical must be obtained before entering school in September.