Translate this page

Parents speak up to save PAT program

Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Issue 24, Volume 17.
Andrea Verdin
Special to the Village News

Over 40 parents successfully voiced their concern about a recommendation to eliminate the Parents as Teachers (PAT) program for the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year to the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District (FUESD) board of directors at their June 3 meeting. After the listening to the outcry, the district agreed to reallocate funds so that the program will be available for the next school year.

The PAT program, currently held at the Mike Choate Early Childhood Education Center, is a free program designed for children newborn to five-years-old. One full time teacher and one part-time aide help parents coordinate classes that include music, and arts and crafts. The board was asked to vote on whether or not they should fund the program for the upcoming year and/or if they should use the facility for a reading support program.

However, parents rallied together on June 3 to voice their concerns, the board took heed and made a choice to stay their vote until their July meeting.

"It felt like a win," said Melinda Rowe, FUESD PTA president. "What we hope to do in that time is make the board aware of the programís benefits and where we hope it will go in the future. [PAT] is such an amazing thing in our community; it would be so sad to lose it."

Rowe, who has had her own children be a part of the PAT program, believes that the program helps children develop through various stages of development while bringing everyone together.

"There are a couple of classes where the crafts are seasonally oriented, and there are tables that help develop kids academically," she said. "The program is in a classroom setting, which prepares students for preschool or kindergarten. Over 400 families have been a part of this program this year alone. In seven years, the program has benefited thousands."

"Students who are a part of the PAT program are more ready for school than those who arenít a part of the program," continued Rowe. "It can be really scary to go to school normally, especially for Advertisement
Advertisement for Christ the King  Lutheran Church
[ Christ the King Lutheran Church ]
children who have cultural differences."

However, it is not the amount of interest that made the district consider eliminating the program.

According to Dennis Bixler, an assistant superintendent for the district, the PAT program has been in the district for approximately 20 years, but was mostly funded through outside sources.

"For much of that time, the program was funded by grants and community donations," he said. "When grant funding ended, the district maintained the program from the K-8 instructional budget. The choice really came out of an issue of priority to meet all the needs for students in the district. We needed greater assistance for reading support."

Rowe stated that the PAT program offers something that the district desperately needs in other schools.

"A big thing that the district is always asking for is family involvement in the schools, and this gives us that," she said. "A board member said that it only costs $84,000 a year to run this program which is Ďa drop in the bucket.í We are totally preparing to throw out suggestions for funding, though the PTA is not ready to suggest paying for the program, so that less fortunate families can still participate."

On June 7, Bixler announced a positive outcome to the boardís decision.

"We do have some good news. One-time funds have been identified in the budget to continue to fund the program for one additional year, 2013-14," he said. "The governing board was very clear that we should find money to continue this program for 2013-2014."

However, Bixler does not believe that funds will be available past the next academic year.

"The reading program will also continue as planned, and no other programs will be impacted by the reallocation of funds," he said. "I have spoken to the lead teacher, who will look for grants and other forms of funding. Iím glad that the board gave us the task to find funding for this program, and that we were able to meet their request."

"To inform parents, a letter will be distributed to parents in the very near future," said Bixler.



Comment Profile ImageThrough the eyes of Eden
Comment #1 | Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 9:39 am
I am so proud of all the parents that pulled together to show the board just what the PAT program ment to us all! Both of my children attended the program and started school confident and ready to learn! If you have a child ages 0-5 please give them a great start by taking them to the Chaote center! They will make friends, learn abc's & 123's, socialization, and much more!
Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #2 | Monday, Jun 17, 2013 at 11:19 am
How sad that we don't spend resources on our CHILDREN but do on guns, tanks, bombs, etc.

Maybe if we spent more resources on raising our children properly, we wouldn't end up with approx. 11,000 dead Americans each year.

Guns, to us as a society, are more important than the arts. Gee, what a surprise.

It takes a village to raise a child, and we, as a nation, are a broken village.
Comment Profile ImageMisty
Comment #3 | Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013 at 9:53 am
I am so proud of Melinda Rowe for all of her efforts. This school means the world to her and to her kids. When will the government realize the more money you take from our kidís education, the bleaker our future looks????

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Fallbrook Village News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Stellar Solar


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Fallbrook Village News The Fallbrook Village News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds