Williamson County Schools To Cut Preschool Due To State Budget

(MARION, IL) — The Illinois budget impasse is claiming another victim. Williamson County schools will be closing doors on Pre-K classes for hundreds of children in the fall if the state of Illinois doesn’t pay the $1.3 million owed to the program. Williamson County Pre-K Program Coordinator Michelle Baxter tells KFVS-TV that she has no choice but to close down if the state doesn’t pay what it owes. Baxter is concerned about what will happen to the children if the Williamson County program doesn’t get the $1.3 million it’s owed. She says they cannot open their doors, and will be forced to shut down services for 600 children and their families that depend on them on a daily basis and let go of 48 staff members. According to Baxter, the Pre-K program serves the most needy and at-risk children and is a free service grant funded through the early childhood block grant. Baxter says she calls Springfield daily to see what the status is and to beg for help for the county and its children, because the loss of the program will be very devastating.