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CMS School Board Delays Vote On Bright Beginnings

The CMS School board voted last night to delay a vote on making drastic cuts to the district's pre-kindergarten program called Bright Beginnings. All but one school board member, Kaye McGarry, voted to postpone a decision to cut $10 million from Bright Beginnings and reduce the number of kids it serves by about 2,000. Two weeks ago board member Trent Merchant challenged supporters of Bright Beginnings to find another way to fund the program. He said last night he's encouraged by the collaboration taking place. "One thing I know we don't have is money, but we do have time. So let's spend that currency as long as we have it," said Merchant. CMS officials have met with child advocates and early childhood educators to look at ways to save costs within Bright Beginnings and avoid cutting as many classes. Ann Clark, the district's Chief Academic Officer told the board they talked about shortening the day to half-a day, going to a four-day week and trimming the Bright Beginnings school year from ten to nine months. "We'll be examining these options to determine whether programmatically we compromise the quality of the program and what the trade-off is in terms of the number of classes we might gain," said Clark. The board now plans to take up the matter as part of its regular budgeting process which concludes in May.