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Preschool Returns to Community Center After Cuts

After eliminating the city's in-house preschool program in May due to budget cuts, Milpitas councilmembers last night approved to contract with Elan Esprit Preschool and open September 12.

After parents asked the city to , councilmembers last night approved a deal that would save money and open the city's preschool facilities in the fall.

The , which has about 50 students enrolled at its Milpitas location, will contract with the city to run a part-time child enrichment program at the  from September 12 to June 6. 

It would still be the "best deal in town," said Bonnie Greiner, parks and recreation director.

The number of sessions will stay the same at 65. The former program cost about $6.50 an hour, and the new child enrichment program will cost about 50 cents more per hour, she said. In addition, there would be a one time materials fee of $100, she said.

While the in May, estimated to save $123,000 of a $12 million structural deficit, parents had said during public comment they would be willing to pay more to save it. 

The city will use its share of the revenues (35 percent) to pay for overhead, a janitor and rental of the facility.

"We are not making a profit," said Tom Williams, city manager. "The vendor will be provided with the facility at no cost" so it's really in lieu of rent and maintenance and paying the bills, he said.

With a capacity of 128 students, the  will give priority enrollment to parents with kids in the previous program on August 31, and to Milpitas residents on September 1.

"We're very excited," said Elan Esprit founder and president Candy Mathews, about working with the city. The curriculum would be a hybrid of their current program and the city's former program, she said.

Elan Esprit would be interested in hiring back some of the former teachers, said Greiner. They would also be willing to add an optional Friday class to the schedule. Previous sessions–Animal Crackers (ages 3-4), a two-and-a-half hour class and Kinder Kids (ages 4-5), a three-hour class–were held on a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule.

In addition, they would consider providing summer classes as well, she said.

R. Thorn August 07, 2011 at 06:12 PM
So happy the children of Milpitas will be able to attend preschool at the community center once again! Hopefully the classes will be very similar to the ones previously offered, and all the former teachers will be able to get their jobs back! :)
Anji Clark August 07, 2011 at 11:49 PM
Milpitas preschoolers are very fortunate to have Elan Esprit running the show! My daughter LOVED that school and the staff. Elan Esprit inspiried my daughters love of learning and started her reading at 3 1/2 years old. It's inspiring to see the staff engage these young minds in real hands on learning, Elan Esprit's program is one of the best.
Adelaide Chen August 08, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Would like to hear from parents who fought to keep the preschool open. Have you already registered with another preschool while waiting for the final decision by the city?

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