Halifax Co. considers closing early learning center, releasing teachers due to budget cuts

Cluster Springs Early Learning center possibly closing due to budget cuts (Photo: WSET)

HALIFAX Co., Va. (WSET) -- The Halifax County school board is considering closing Cluster Springs Early Learning center in order to meet their budget for the upcoming school year.

"Money should never be more important than a child's education, if we're putting our children first and if that's what we say we're doing then we should be focused more on the children and not the money," said Kristy Yancey, a parent.

Yancey is worried about where her preschooler will go.

"We should not close the early learning center. This is an environment that's for our four-year-olds our three-year-olds that have special needs," she said.

The school board is looking to take the 70 students and place them at Cluster Springs Elementary.

According to the chairman of the Halifax County School Board chairman, this will save them $98,000.

"We have room to house them, the teachers would go with them everything would be the same but they would be at Cluster Springs Elementary," said Joe Gasperini.

However, Yancey does not see it that way.

"It would impede their growth because they would be exposed to things that they are not prepared to see.," said Yancey.

Gasperini says he's not speaking for the school board, but believes having kindergartners in the elementary would be a good thing.

"They would be in two separate areas of the school they would not be mixed up with 5th graders," said Gasperini. "You try to have them at schools where they are going to be going to kindergarten because it gets them use to going to the school they're going to be at."

The board isn't only looking at closing the learning center. It's also looking to eliminate seven teacher positions to save money.

Gasperini says as operation costs go up, the need for more cash to keep things running goes up.

"We're going to need more funds from the board of supervisors and we're going to need it for the needs of the children," said Gasperini.

No final decisions have been made by the school board. The next budget meeting will be March 5.

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