Wake leaders discuss changes to Project Enlightenment
Posted September 15, 2010 1:16 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2010 4:16 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Wake County Board of Commissioners and school board members on Wednesday discussed proposed changes to a popular pre-kindergarten program.
The school board decided to cut staffing for Project Enlightenment earlier this year but changed its mind after an uproar from parents. Instead, it restored some funding by having Wake County Human Services take over parent counseling in the program.
Some school board members said they are worried about that change.
“My concern is that the community group, Project Enlightenment, has been doing this well for decades, successfully helping kids, special needs kids in particular, get ready to learn,” school board member John Tedesco said. “Anytime we shift a service from the community providing it to some government arm providing it, you typically lose some quality.”
Wake County Assistant Superintendent Marvin Connelly said the only difference he sees is who will be who paying the employee.
"I think, if a clinical social worker was talking to the parent before and a clinical social worker is talking to the parent now, I can't imagine that things would be much different," Connelly said.
School board members are concerned that parents will be waiting longer for a county counselor or not getting to see one at all.
"I think it's the children who are going to be affected," school board member Anne McLaurin said.
School board members did not take a vote on the issue Wednesday, but said they said at their next meeting they will work on a way to preserve the program's counselors and keep the county out of the process.