Carthage to Build Early Childhood Center

The Carthage School district expects to break ground next month on a new early childhood center. The three-point-five million dollar project includes nearly three-million in federal grant dollars. Kids from 3 to 5 year olds count and stomp their way to learning. But they’re doing so now in a section of the Fairview Christian Church leased with federal grant dollars. The program outgrew Steadley elementary where 120 Title One preschool kids attend now. While the Parents as Teachers program, is downtown. The new center will bring them all under one roof. Carthage Special Services Director Beth James says, “Students are all going there together going to be able to access lots of services for all the students on a regular basis that we’re not able to do right now.”
Early Childhood Special Education director Kim Ensminger says, “We have occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and its just better to have it under one building and they can all receive services at the same place. It saves on travel time expense as far as mileage is concerned and the teachers have access to all the therapists so they can get information and resources in order to help the kiddos in the classroom.”
Currently 72 kids are served at the Fairview Christian Church school site. A new building would allow the program to grow.
James says, “There can be extensions to this grant. If we find we’ve maxed our capacity for the building, we have planned for building, a contingency to build on to that building. And we would just re-submit that grant to cover any additional classrooms we would need to build. So this building can grow with us, which is another big benefit for it.”
The Steadley Foundation has donated $350 thousand dollars but more will be needed to cover what the federal grant money doesn’t.
James says its a good investment. “For every dollar we spend you get seven dollars saved in the end either in gained income tax revenues income because those students do better or we don’t have to have so many remedial teachers later on in their schooling. So we save money that way.”
The building should be completed by February 2015. The Carthage R-9 Foundation is seeking more donations for the Parents as Teachers section of the project. Offering naming rights for the building, rooms and benches based on donation amounts. click here for a link to the Carthage Foundation