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      Pre-K won't be cut in Warsaw

      Almost any educator will tell you that preschool programs are important. But t he Warsaw Illinois school district was at risk of loosing its pre-k program.

      However a state grant came just in time to help save the district's program.

      E ach day, between 35 and 40 children are in having fun and learning in the pre-k program at the Warsaw Community School District.

      It takes about $100,000 a year to operate the classroom and for the past couple of years the district has self funded the pre-k program.

      That's because across the state, there's no money that's allocated through state aid for pre-k programs.

      Each district has to apply for grant money to help them fund the program.

      But for whatever reason, Warsaw didn't get their grant money several years ago and the district decided to come up with the money themselves.

      With state budget cuts, Warsaw was having to look at some tough decisions and the pre-k program was on the list for possible cuts.

      " It is district funded we receive no grant money for it prior to this. And at looking at ways to make budget cuts this was one of them. So $53,000 saved this program and hopefully we'll continue to be able to service our three and four year olds in this community for a long time," district superintendent Matt Runge said.

      John Meixner is the superintendent of the regional office of education in Macomb and Hancock County is part of his area. He said it was the work of the Warsaw Elementary School principal that helped pave the way for the school district to get the $53,000 grant.

      ' To Brad Froman's credit he kept calling the state board of education to find out if there was potential money available through the grant and there was, there was some funding however, we were awarded an upward amendment through our pre-k grant that we have and we funneled that money directly into the Warsaw program to fund their program for the remainder of this year and potentially next year as well," Meixner said.

      So for not just the district but for the parents and the young children who are in the program, the door won't be closing on the pre-k program and that the door will be open to kids for the years to come.