Children cut from pre-K program

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By David Giuliani

Nine children in the West Las Vegas school district’s pre-kindergarten program won’t be allowed to attend much longer.

On Oct. 1, Superintendent Ruben Cordova sent letters to the parents informing them that the district will no longer be able to provide services to their children starting Wednesday.

“It is with much regret that I make this decision,” Cordova wrote.

In his letter, he said that for quite some time, he had been aware that the pre-kindergarten program had been costing the district more than what a state funding source provided. In late September, he said the state announced another funding cut.

He told the parents that he hoped the state’s economy improves so that the district could restore the services at the pre-kindergarten program, which is on Hot Springs Boulevard. The program will serve 40 children after the nine children are disenrolled. It is separate from Head Start, which serves the children of low-income families.

In his letter, Cordova said the last students to enroll were the ones who were cut.

Jenny Nation, one of the parents, said she wasn’t happy that the district decided to remove the students two months into the school year.

“What are we doing to our children? They were enjoying school, and then they can’t go anymore,” she said. “You allowed my child to start school. You should allow him to finish. Let it affect next year.”

She said two other students who enrolled after hers were allowed to stay.

Cordova said the pre-kindergarten program is voluntary and that not all New Mexico school districts have it. The West program had a $70,000 deficit; now, one of its teachers is moving to a developmentally delayed program, which required another one, he said.

“The West Las Vegas school district didn’t have any emergency supplemental funding this year. We have a very tight budget,” the superintendent said.

Cordova said he had met with most of the parents in the last few days.

“I can’t stop commending those parents. Most of them have been very gracious. Two parents have been critical of the decision,” he said. “I just wish the state would provide adequate funds for programs like this.”