Preston Schools Cuts All After-School Programs, Elementary Spanish

With budgets tight, the Preston Board of Education is making significant cuts, including elementary school Spanish and all extra-curricular activities, including sports.

With less funding expected from the state, the chair of the Board of Education said the cuts are heartbreaking, but it's the only option.

“Kids should be a priority,” said Floyd Overton whose child attends Preston Plains Middle School. “They say the kids are our future. So why don't they put some money aside for our future?”

Some Preston Plains Middle School parents are peeved about the cuts.

“There’s nothing for the kids to do in this area. There's no YMCA no more. And there's nothing to do for the kids but get in trouble,” Overton said.

Board representatives eliminated almost $312,000 from its budget this week. Chair Jan Clancy said the cuts include after school programs, the late bus, removing Ledyard High School as a high school option, elementary school Spanish class and letting go of the school's Spanish teacher.

Preston's school district does not have its own high school.

"What do the kids do? Go to school, go home and then what,” asked Christina Lallier, whose grandson goes to Preston Plains Middle School.

The cuts have been in talks for month, Clancy said, adding each and every one was made with a heavy heart.

“But it really bothers us to cut anything because a well-rounded student needs not only the core academics but what used to be called 'extras,’” Clancy said.

Clancy is hoping Preston is still awarded money through the state's education grant formula. The grant would mean the town gets $220,000 more than last year. Clancy would like that money to go back toward restoring some of the cut programs.

When it comes to sports, the board is considering a play-to-participate model, she added.

According to parents and grandparents, the cuts impact their involvement with the schools, too.

"We all go to the games, it's very good involvement for parents and grandparents. It just nice,” Lallier said.

For people who want to voice their opinion about the cuts, there will be a public meeting at Preston Veterans’ Memorial School on May 25.

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