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New pre-K program moves forward at Palisades


With a survey of its community revealing sufficient demand for a pre-K program, the Palisades School District is looking to provide one.

Taking the next step, the school board voted unanimously at its April 19 meeting to approve an agreement, pending grant approval, with LifeSpan School and Day Care, based in Quakertown, to provide the program while leasing space for it from the district.

While gaining income from the leasing agreement, the district will not need to be funding the program from its annual budget. It’d also be reimbursed for any outlays.

The survey of the community was undertaken last month to see if it revealed enough interest to satisfy grant requirements, including each student’s household income being less than $90,000 annually. Officials reported that the number of interested families below that income level from the survey was sufficient for the grant application, which is being managed by United Way of Bucks County, and is understood to be covering a five-year duration.

Full development of the program is on hold pending receipt of the grant. During discussion of the matter at the board meeting, officials acknowledged the already existing presence of pre-K programs in the area, with the new program not intended as competition for them. During the public comment session later in the meeting, the owner of one of them offered some suggestions of some key elements to consider.

Board Vice President Sylvia LeBlanc thanked him for his input, as well as that from a resident who noted benefits such a program had offered her own children. These especially included the development of a sense of their own individuality, and various benefits deriving from extensive opportunities for productive interaction with other children their age.

The leasing agreement notes LifeSpan School and Day Care Corp. as “a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization with its principal place of business located” in Quakertown. The company is to provide the program for 3 and 4 year olds “during regular school hours between 8:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, based on the published Lessor student calendar. Any events planned outside these hours must be pre-approved by the building principal.”

That building is to be Durham-Nockamixon Elementary School, including the use of outdoor play space. A nutritional snack and one or more meals are to be provided, as is school nurse support, including annual vision and hearing screenings. A total of 17 full-time enrollment slots are to be established.

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