Plan Released For Early Childhood Program

Wednesday, May 2nd 2007, 7:40 pm
By: News On 6

There is a new plan for a popular early childhood program, once on the chopping block. Bunche Early Childhood Development Center has been in limbo since the Tulsa School Board tabled a vote to close the four-year-old program. Tulsa superintendent Dr. Michael Zolkoski released his new plan Wednesday for the facility. Zolkoski is recommending keeping ECDC open, for now. The news has already hit the Save Bunche ECDC website, but News On 6 education reporter Ashli Sims reports supporters aren't entirely satisfied.

They've shown their support in the school, on the World Wide Web and before the Tulsa school board. Last month, supporters of the Bunche Early Childhood Development Center claimed a temporary victory when the school board tabled a motion to close the program, but now ECDC is back on the school board agenda.

"I was pleased that where it had been tabled and it was left in limbo. I was actually pleased to see that it was coming back to the table, in hopes of some kind of resolution,” said ECDC parent Lenore Brown.

Zolkoski is now recommending Bunche remain open for next year, but he still wants to close the facility in June of 2008. Zolkoski has said, in the past, the move would save almost $400,000 and four-year-olds would be better served at their neighborhood schools.

"I was a little disturbed to see the language that it would close in 2008. I don't have a problem with that, if you're opening back up in August of 2008 as a demonstration program," said ECDC parent Rosemary Brown.

Right now, the plan only calls for the district to study the possibility of turning ECDC into a demonstration school, where others could learn about early childhood education. Both of these moms have been at every meeting since the plan to close ECDC was announced, and they say they're not going away now and neither are the rest of ECDC's supporters.

"I think they're in this,” said Lenore Brown. “I don't think they were pulled on board because they didn't have anything better to do. I think they absolutely feel strongly about this, and I think they will show up."

Nearly 4,000 people have visited the Save Bunche ECDC website, and Lenore and Rosemary Brown are determined to drum up more support. For now, ECDC is proceeding as normal, still enrolling four-year-olds for next year.

The school board will decide the school's fate next Monday night.

Watch the video: New Plan For Popular Education Center

Related stories:

3/22/2007 Monroe Middle School On The Chopping Block

3/26/2007 Child Development Center Faces Closing For Good

4/9/2007 Changes In Store For Some Middle School Students

4/12/2007 Tulsa Public Schools' New District Plans