NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - "At this point I think we're all stretched about as thin as we can be stretched," Jody Veit-Edrington explains. The lack of finances are beginning to take a toll on early childhood programs in Arkansas. She continues, "We'd like to get new books for our library, new carpets for our classrooms."
Not only are educators dealing with the financial struggle, but now even students are feeling the effects. Money for the additional needs were found nowhere in Governor Asa Hutchinson's budget plan. But Governor Hutchinson says that does not mean it doesn't exist. "A sixty-million-dollar grant was obtained to add to our pre-k budget. That is a big infusion. A big increase and so that need I think has been met to a certain extent," Governor Hutchinson explains.
But Advocates for Children and Families think otherwise. Jerri Derlikowski says, "We were a little disappointed. It's been eight years since pre-k had an increase in their per-student funding." In 2008 each child was getting $4860, and that amount is still what they are getting today. Until additional monies are felt in the classroom, this school district says they'll be holding onto hope. Veit-Edrington says, "We are not giving up."