Pre-K change

The Northgate School Board will consider a change to the district’s pre-kindergarten program.

According to superintendent Dr. Caroline Johns, there are currently three preschool classrooms at Bellevue Elementary. Two of them are operated by the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU), which rents the classroom space from the district. The third class has been funded by a Pre-K Counts grant, which covers the lion’s share of the $197,000 cost. Northgate contributes $36,000 to that class.

The Pre-K Counts grant is up this year, however, and Northgate would have to re-apply for funds. Johns said, however, that districts are not informed if they will receive the funds until late summer. If Northgate does not receive the grant again, the district could be looking at a last-minute bill for the entire $197,000 cost.

Johns told school board members at their committee of the whole meeting on Monday that because of the funding uncertainty, Northgate could eliminate that pre-school class and direct the funds to paying for an elementary guidance counselor.

She also said that another preschool class could be added by the AIU Discover, Assessment, Referral and Tracking (DART) program, which provides special education services for children ages 3-5. Several Northgate students are eligible for the program, but now attend classes in McKees Rocks, Johns said.