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Schools Will Lose Out on Possible Grant Money

Lowell, IN, May 23 - Research clearly touts the benefits of having preschool programs in schools. For Lowell, preschool and daycare programs are not as readily available without driving to neighboring towns to the north. Last fall, approximately 437 parents in the Lowell community responded to a survey with the results indicating a strong need and desire for families to take advantage of preschool if Tri-Creek Schools moved forward with implementation. With the recently failed school referendum, the Tri-Creek School Corporation has reluctantly placed an indefinite hold on preschool.

Funding for preschool is typically a combination of personal parent funds, local school district funds, and grant money. Recently, the Child Care Expansion Grant was considered an opportunity to support preschool classrooms at Tri-Creek School Corporation. Unfortunately, the grant required schools to make a five-year commitment with the provision of matching local funds to receive the grant. With Tri-Creek Schools now forced to slash $1 million from the budget after next school year, the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Kevin Deal states, “We are not positioned to make such a long-term commitment when we know we are on the verge of massive cuts to current student programs and services.”

Tri-Creek had partnered with Transform Consulting, experts on preschool funding, curriculum, program design, staffing, and development. The work with the early learning committee and Transform has come to an abrupt end. The work and learning, up to this point, proved beneficial and will be saved in case anything changes in the future.

School officials stressed to the community through newsletters, flyers, mailings, and school town hall meetings just how vital the referendum was for preschool during the months leading up to the May 2, 2023, Election Day. However, 65.93% of voters cast a vote of “no” to the public referendum question.