Calexico School Board Cuts Preschool Program, Reduces Adult Ed

Calexico School Board Cuts Preschool Program, Reduces Adult Ed

CALEXICO, CA - Penny Baltierra expressed concern for her two-year-old grandson, Eduardo. She says they're being affected because he won't be able to go to preschool in the Calexico Unified School District.

On Thursday night, the Calexico Unified District School Board voted 3-2 to cut its preschool program and reduce its adult education program.

Belen De La Cruz's two-year-old attends preschool.  She's not happy either.

"I am pretty...disgusted is the word I can really use with what took [place]," says De La Cruz.  "It's ashamed our only Calexico preschool through the District will be closing."

Calexico Unified School District Superintendent Richard Fragale says they have the daunting job of cutting its budget by $6 million.  They had to layoff 89 teachers as well.

"My response is we don't want to stop it either, you know," says Fragale.  "And someone made the remark last night, 'Well, what about let the State do it [take over the School District]?'  If the State makes the decision, it means they're taking it over."

Calexico Unified School Board member Joong Kim opposed the preschool and adult education cuts.  He says the District can do a better job at managing its money.

"When you're cutting the District's teachers...layoffs, it raises class size," says Kim.  "Eliminating the preschool, reducing the adult education program...is that a benefit for the children?  The benefit for the community?  At the same time, we have lots of disconcerting lawyers presenting every single minute."

De La Cruz says the District should prioritize its spending.

"[The] monies being used...you're paying an attorney $30,000 a month?" says De La Cruz of the Calexico Unified School District employing legal representation to fight its battles.  "That's almost what a...starting teacher's salary is for the whole year.  Why not do away with that and put that money into instead for the better future of our kids."

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