Preschools atrisk through funding crisis
By NERIDA BLOK firstname.lastname@example.org
BIANCA URBINA warns community-based preschools will close if they don't get more funding.
The local co-ordinator of a statewide campaign called Children's Choice yesterday presented Lismore MP Thomas George with survey results highlighting the preschool funding crisis.
Making the presentation at The Channon Preschool, Ms Urbina said the survey had aimed to find out why parents sent their children to preschools.
She said the results, collated over six months, confirmed that local children were missing out on the full benefits of preschool programs because of the high level of fees.
"The results highlight the value of early childhood education and the importance of qualified teaching staff," she said.
"It clearly shows that children would have more access to preschool education if it was more affordable, and that access is an important issue in small communities."
Ms Urbina said Department of Education preschools in New South Wales were fully-funded, yet communitybased preschools received only 20-25 per cent of their operational costs through the department.
"Community-based preschools cannot afford to stay open any longer than they already are," she said. "We can't afford to pay staff."
Mr George said he was not surprised by the survey results.
He acknowledged the lack of funding was a major problem for community-based preschools across the State, 'particularly in country and regional areas'.
"The only way this will be addressed is for more funding," he said.
"Overheads are the same, but funding is a lot less."
He said he would take the survey results to the Minister for Community Services and put forward the case.