Recreation department to start Pre-K program next fall

Community, News, Parks and Recreation
Pre-K program

FANNIN COUNTY, GA – Recreation Dept. (Rec. Dept.) Director Eddie O’Neal received approval from the board of commissioners to start a Pre-K program for the next school year, 2020-2021.

O’Neal has extensively researched the issue and believes it will be of great benefit to the local community. It will be open to three- and four-year-old children with a goal of 15 participants in each class.

“We’ve had a lot of requests and inquiries about a Pre-K program, explained O’Neal. “We’ve talked to the school system, and they actually have waiting lists at the elementary schools.”

Two part-time after-school program employees would become full-time and run the Pre-K service. They each hold the proper certifications to work with young children.

The three-year-old class would be held twice a week, while the four-year-old class would be three days a week at the same time.

Currently, program hours haven’t been set, but the children would need to be ready to go before the school buses run. O’Neal wants it to start in the fall with the 2020-2021 school year. Participation fees weren’t discussed during the meeting.

The Pre-K classes would take place in the same location as the after-school program, 682 Park Drive.

However, if the program doesn’t fill up, then the Rec. Dept. wouldn’t provide this service.

“But more than likely with the need, it will fill up,” inquired Post One Earl Johnson. “As far as I know, there is a huge demand for it. Offering for that age group of kids, we offer all kinds of services for kids, five to teenage. I think that will be a great service for parents in the community.”

O’Neal confirmed that he believes the classes will fill up, “one elementary school, I think they have 11 or 12 on a waiting list.”

Also, the Blue Ridge Methodist Church Pre-K services recently closed according to the city attorney.

Also the Fannin County Preschool at Friendship No. 3 off Galloway Road told FYN that the Georgia Dept. of Early Childcare and Learning has decided the school can no longer offer all day classes. Fannin County Preschool does still offer a morning and afternoon Monday thru Wednesday and for four-year-old, while three-year-old children can attend morning and afternoon classes on Tuesday and Thursday. 

The Pre-K program would be a $54,000 budget line item for the Rec. Dept., but that participation fees should cover a portion of the cost. O’Neal didn’t bring it up during his 2020 budget hearing because Pre-K services require state approval first. The Rec. Dept. was recently given the go-ahead by the state to proceed.

No contracts would need to be signed for the program.

Rec. Dept. budget would need to be adjusted if the classes fill up, and it moves forward.“I think it sounds great, Eddie, more offerings for the community,” stated Chairman Stan Helton.

SPLOST FUNDING FOR FIELD DRAINAGE

The Rec. Dept. also received SPLOST funding from the commissioners for field drainage at Tom Boyd Park. They approved a bid with Biome for $10,780 for engineered drawing and with River City Athletic Fields for $16,850 for laser grading, for a total of $27,630.

Biome projects would develop a drawing for the large baseball/softball field from the batting cages out through the end of field five. 

River City Athletic fields would perform the laser grading and add top mix to three of the fields. 

“I think it’s high time we do something about the drainage. We just need to make sure this time whatever dollars we’re spending, we’re fixing the drainage, not prolonging. We’ve had to do some things to get by for several years. Especially wet years, like this year [during] baseball season, it’s going to be tough,” said Johnson.

O’Neal asked both architects to have the drawings completed by the end of the school year.

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