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Fulton Limiting Pre-K Program To Avoid Spending Tax Dollars

The Fulton City School District is limiting its successful universal pre-K program to keep it from costing local taxpayers any money.

Assistant Superintendent Betsy Conners reminded members of the Board of Education this week about the demand they made when they approved the program, known as UPK:

“‘We’ll support you with the (universal pre-K) program, but only if it’s paid for through grant dollars'”, she recalled. “I am reminded constantly of that promise.”

That year, 6 UPK classes held 106 students, all paid for with nearly $340,000 of grant funds.

But a change in the way the state funds the program means that the district could, if it’s not careful, be ordered to put taxpayer dollars into UPK. The only way to prevent that from happening, Conners said, is to limit the number of students in UPK.

“I don’t want to cut our program,” Conners explained, but, “I don’t want to have to come back to you and say I need help.”

So the district plans to drop a UPK program run by Oswego County Opportunities, keeping three classes run by the Fulton YMCA, three run by teacher Francie Latino and two run by OCO housed at All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

“It’s been a very successful program,” said Superintendent Bill Lynch.