FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Odell Clarifies Funding for PARC Preschool

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MaryEllen Odell
Putnam County Executive
(845) 808-1001

May 21, 2013

Odell Clarifies Funding for PARC Preschool

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell has offered to clarify information published in a recent newspaper concerning transportation funding for PARC’s Pre-School Program.   

“The County is mandated by New York State to pay for transportation and the education for certain children in the County under the Early Intervention Program and the Pre-School Program,” said Odell. “PARC has no responsibility to fund transportation. It is strictly a County function.”

Odell felt that information was not made clear in the May 9 article written by Marc Weinreich and published in the Mahopac News. 

The County spends an average of $22,000 per child per year to transport special education preschoolers to programs in and outside of Putnam County.

There are approximately 70 children within Putnam enrolled in these programs. In 2012 costs exceeded $9 million. New York State contributed $4.3 million leaving the balance of $5 million to be paid by Putnam taxpayers. These costs are included in a homeowner’s County property taxes. 

PARC is one of 22 contractors hired by the County to provide the educational services for its special needs children.

Last March, the PARC Board of Directors announced they faced a $300,000 deficit in their operating funds for the Mahopac-based Pre-School Program. After much deliberation, they voted to drop the program next year.

Odell then appropriated $150,000 from the County budget to help finance the beginning of next year’s school year. Another $150,000 may be funded later should PARC still face a deficit. 

While Limongella and PARC have no responsibility for the transportation funding, they are working collaboratively with the County Executive to develop and execute transportation strategies to reduce these costs.

“The job of PARC Pre-School is to educate students, not to transport them,” said Limongello. “We are working with the County Executive and pursuing options that might help to resolve the County’s transportation costs.”

The Pre-School Program budget is $1.3 million. According to Limongello, 70 percent of the budget is allocated to educating the children while the remaining 30 percent is used for administrative and building costs. 

There are 53 children presently enrolled PARC’s Pre-School Program. However, 42 of these youngsters will graduate at the end of the school year. Enrollment for the 2013-14 school year has yet to be determined.