School partnership

Monday, January 29, 2007

A new local business has offered the Cape Girardeau School District the opportunity to establish a preschool in the business's leased building, formerly occupied by the Sears store at the Town Plaza Shopping Center.

National Asset Recovery Service Inc. is a call center that plans to move into the building once it is renovated. The business has offered the school district 7,600 square feet of space in the building to house a preschool and will pay the utilities. The offer also includes outdoor space for a playground. The school district would provide staff, a curriculum and equipment and would provide meals for the children.

The school district estimates its cost would be about $360,000 a year for teachers and aides plus $46,000 annually for food.

An estimated 120 preschoolers could attend, and 100 children could attend the after-school program. Some tuition would be available on a sliding scale.

The advantage for NARS is that the company's employees would be able to put their children in the preschool.

The district currently operates an early childhood education program for special education at Jefferson Elementary School but has no preschool program for the general population.

Such a partnership between a business and the public schools will need to be examined carefully before proceeding. But the offer certainly should be explored.

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