An udpdate of the New Berlin Preschool (which is located in Ronald Reagan Elementary) is on the agenda of tonight's New Berlin School Board Meeting.
I received an email and voice mail message last Friday afternoon from Superintendent Joe Garza alerting me to that and suggesting that if I had specific questions to let them know and they may be answered as part of the presentation. During a conversation I had with Mr. Garza on September 28, I mentioned having some concerns about the preschool.
So, earlier today I emailed a list of questions I said I’d like answered during the presentation about the New Berlin Preschool-in partnership with the School District of New Berlin.
I am looking forward to hearing the District’s responses.
FYI: Here are the questions I posed in my email (not necessarily in this order)-----
Doesn't establishing a tuition-based school in a District elementary school go against the concept of a free public education for all?
How is setting up this preschool in a District school and use of District taxpayer funded resources, not interfering with the free-market by giving an unfair advantage to the New Berlin Preschool over competing preschools in the area?
When and how did the District actively solicit input from District stakeholders (taxpayers and community) on how they felt about establishing this "partnership" and putting this tuition-based (or any) preschool in a District elementary school (Ronald Reagan)?
What selection process was used in picking this particular preschool business to form a partnership? Was it a fair process that allowed other existing Wisconsin preschools equal opportunity and access? How? If not, why not? Was there any competitive bidding process? Please explain.
Is this preschool being charged any fee to use Reagan Elementary School, a taxpayer-funded facility? What fee?
Who has prepared and set the curriculum for the preschool--the director M. Kay Von Rueden or the District of New Berlin administration?
Given the director's background running a religious preschool, will the preschool at Ronald Reagan be secular or have any faith-based education elements, such as prayer?
Will there be transparency in all financing involved in this preschool and staffing-- and will these financial records be subject to Open Records Laws?
How are the tuition/fees determined, collected and how will the District be recouping its costs?
Are the staff for this preschool going to be counted toward the District FTE staffing numbers and FTE total the District submits to the State?
Mr. Funk has stressed that it's a pre-school, not a day care. The New Berlin Preschool's stated goals are to provide each child with the tools and skills necessary to enhance their social, physical, emotional and academic development in a warm and nurturing environment. Is it part of the District of New Berlin's educational mission to educate very young children ( 3-5 years age group) and help prepare them for kindergarten? If it is, why are we charging kids/their families (on top of their taxes) for this service?
By setting up this tuition-based preschool in a District elementary school (rather than say, a 4-yr old kindergarten program), isn't the District creating and promoting what is essentially, a privileged, private enterprise?
Mr. Funk spoke about the need to integrate young children with special needs ( Early Childhood program) with "typically" developing peers. Isn't that mandated by law? Didn't Mr. Funk indicate in a speech to the BOE that the the District had been doing that in existing preschools? So, what's changed that the District has opted now to set up a preschool in a District facility under the pretext that it will "give opportunities to the kids in the EC program to integrate with their “typically developing peers"?
Does District administration truly believe that the way to serve our special education students is to create a pay-to-attend educational system?