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Crestwood School District Loses Grant for Pre-K Program

WRIGHT TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The Crestwood School District was denied a grant that funded its Pre-K program.

This would have been the second year the Crestwood School District had a Pre-K program.

Parents Newswatch 16 spoke with, like Jamie Ruppert, are worried not having the program could mean their children are not prepared to go to kindergarten.

"My daughter Zadie would've been ready to go to Pre-K this fall when it was starting but now that it is not starting, she's going to be so upset," Jamie Ruppert of Dennison Township said.

Last year, the state gave the Crestwood School District a grant to start a Pre-K program. The grant was administered through the Luzerne Intermediate Unit. After a successful first year of Pre-K, the district decided to apply for the grant again, but this time without the IU. The application was rejected.

"We felt confident in doing that because we had already established a program and we knew that was one of the criteria when you apply for the grant, not realizing that having the lead agency piece would have more weight than having an existing program," Crestwood School District Superintendent Joseph Gorham said.

The district planned to expand its Pre-K program this year. The first year it had 18 students. Now, the superintendent says there are nearly 50 students who will have to look elsewhere.

"The saddest part in all of this, is that in the end, the students in our community are losing out on a great benefit and the state gave it and they took it away and that's really hard to reconcile," Gorham said.

Ruppert hopes there is a solution soon.

"Although Pre-K isn't mandatory like kindergarden and the other grades, it still is a big benefit to our kids," Ruppert said. "They learn so much and Kindergarten wants you to know so much before you go in there and that's where they learn this stuff."

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