The Sandusky school district plans to introduce a pilot program to expand its preschool classes next year.
The idea is to identify families with preschool children who might benefit from early childhood education. The goal is to better prepare these youngsters for kindergarten and the rigors they will face in that first formal year of schooling and the years that will follow.
The benefits of such a program hold out promise for a a return on the investment, and the investment will come from federal and state grant money, not from the district's general operating budget.
The school district must look for ways to improve the services it offers and its overall performance, and this idea sounds to us like a well-reasoned effort to do just that.
And, just as any modern business concern, it must search for these new alternatives with the mantra that it must do more for less. Tightening budgets caused by decreased state and federal funding combined with increases in costs, demand it.
The potential for success this pilot program has makes it worth the investment in time and money. Not all of the details have been worked out, but the pilot program, which is set to begin in the fall, is likely to have both morning and afternoon sessions.
The district plans to thoroughly review the pluses and the minuses of the program after the first year, and will face funding questions if it is to continue.
The school board has shown, in approving this new venture, that it is open to innovation and at the same time is being fiscally conservative.
Assuming the program is a success, the board will have to re-apply for grant money to continue it into the 2008/2009 school year or find other funding sources.
This is an experiment worth the investment, and we believe the children and families that will be served, and the school district as a whole, will be well served by the innovative approach that administrators and teachers are undertaking.