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Foundation lobbies for Project Enlightenment

In an effort to save Project Enlightenment from cuts, the foundation that supports it plans to invite school board members for a tour.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
A lot of news came out of the Wake school board's meeting on Tuesday. And perhaps lost a bit in the shuffle was what might happen to Project Enlightenment, the center for early education in Raleigh.
Project Enlightenment faces what could be some "substantial" cuts, Peggy Hibbert, president of the Project Enlightenment Foundation, tells me. The center is part of the school system's central services operations, which faces $20 million in cuts to close a budget gap. The cuts include layoffs. The school board must send their proposed budget to Wake County commissioners by May 15.

It's not clear exactly what will be cut, Hibbert said. But more details could come very soon, school board member Anne McLaurin tells me.

Hibbert leads a group that works to support and expand Project Enlightenment's programs. The potential cuts come as the foundation is working to organize a 40th anniversary celebration. The community-wide celebration is planned for April 11 to 17.

The group plans to invite school board members in the next couple of days to tour Project Enlightenment.

"We plan to show the [board] how the services at Project Enlightenment provide a direct impact on children's success in school," Hibbert wrote in an email.

Here's what else she wrote:

"Project Enlightenment was created 40 years ago because educators and other professionals in Wake County recognized that many children were entering school without the necessary skills to be successful. Project Enlightenment has been a national forerunner in early education ever since."

"If the [reduction in force] is approved by the Board of Education, many valuable Project Enlightenment services to children, their families and teachers will be lost. The Project Enlightenment Foundation will continue to advocate for Project Enlightenment to the BOE and the WCPSS"

Lots of parents and other community members also are working to lobby for the program. A Facebook page has more than 1,600 members.

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