Budget cuts impact preschools in Tulare County

FRESNO, Calif.

These energetic preschoolers spend most of their day coloring, sliding, bouncing around and learning some essential social skills before they enter kindergarten.

Farmersville City Manager, Rene Miller said, "It's an excellent preschool the parents here love it the kids say great things about it and Farmersville Unified says great things about children coming from that program."

Though the children are playing, it's hard to ignore the large, colorful, hand-painted sign on the front gates of the preschool that reads "help our children save their school."

The city of Farmersville owns the building, but the program is largely funded by The Tulare County Office of Education which has decided to end its contract to help save money. Now, the city of Farmersville has to look for a new agency to take over.

Ray Chavez said, "We have had some contracts with the city of Farmersville, Aplaugh, Alta Vista in Porterville and with the Tuare City Schools ... we do not have the money to cover the deficit and projected amounts coming."

Farmersville isn't the only city that will suffer. The Tulare County Office Of Education is pulling its preschool programs from nine different communities in Tulare County and laying off 80 employees.

Tulare County's Child Care Educational Administrator Ray Chavez says even after these cuts, the office of education will still face a more than one million dollar deficit.

Chavez said, "So all of a sudden we have insufficient funding and we think this is going to hurt our young children."

The city of Farmersville is hoping to not have to close its preschool and is looking to other agencies like the YMCA to take it over. They hope if it stays open some of the laid-off employees could be rehired.

Parents are invited to a public meeting with Farmersville city councilmember's on Monday at 7:00 p.m. at the preschool to talk about this issue.

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