Up to 70% of the revenue for the program, which provides free to low-cost child care for working families that meet state income criteria, flows directly from Sacramento, said director Kelly King.
The formula has left the programs particularly vulnerable to ongoing state funding cuts, which have come even after Glendale savings were decimated by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year, King said.
The Early Education and Extended Learning Program at Glendale Unified serves more than 2,000 students annually, including half-day and full-day preschool programs, elementary after-school programs and infant-toddler care at Daily High School. Hours typically run 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and fees are based on a sliding scale of income and family size.
The staffing reductions mean the district will close preschool classrooms at Verdugo Woodlands and Balboa elementary schools, King said. After-school programs at multiple sites will also be reduced and consolidated.
“It has got some really serious implications,” King said. “The state has told us that we have to make the cuts from the highest income levels first, so when we are enrolling our students, we are starting at zero and working our way up.”
Some of the families she works with are newly off welfare, King said, made possible only by the cheap and free child care offered through the Early Education and Extended Learning Program.
“Preschool is $850 a month,” King said. “That is more than a rent payment for some.”
Many children who are denied services will be left home alone, King said. In some cases, parents might have to quit jobs and return to welfare in order to care for their children.
“These particular programs are targeted to serve the working poor, and unfortunately those families are the most vulnerable to these cuts,” King said.