BOE discusses grant application to fund preschool expansion

Latest meeting included discussions of preschool expansion, the new before- and after-care program and possible benefits of an energy savings improvement program.

On Wednesday, July 31, the Burlington Township Board of Education discussed preschool expansion, the new before- and after-care program and an energy audit recently completed by NJ Clean Energy Program.

Susan Eichmann gave a report from the strategic planning committee, including information on a Pre-K grant from the state Department of Education that Superintendent Mary Ann Bell applied for to fund an expansion of the current preschool program housed in Fountain Woods for the 2019-2020 school year.

The initial information session for the grant took place July 9, and the board voted to allow Bell to submit an application at its July 24 work session meeting ahead of the Aug. 1 application deadline. Notification of acceptance will be received Sept. 3 should they be approved by the DOE. Classrooms for the expanded preschool program would need to be open by Oct. 1.

“It’s a very quick turnaround and a lot would need to be established before that happens, so administrators have been working very hard to get the information to submit the application, and then once we find out, all the different pieces that would be going into play to make that happen,” said Eichmann. 

Eichmann’s report also included current enrollment numbers for the new before- and after-care program provided by Wee Kids EHEP (extended hour enrichment program). 

At its May 22 meeting, the board approved a recommendation from the Office of the Superintendent to make a change to the provider of the before- and after-care programs at the B. Bernice Young and Fountain Woods elementary schools after the board was made aware of some students and safety matters related to the previous provider, YMCA.

According to Eichmann, enrollment in the new program for Young School currently stands at 52 for before care and 58 for after care, 22 for before and 23 for after at Fountain Woods, and 11 for Pre-K. An orientation for families is scheduled for the week of Aug. 15.

Bell pointed out the numbers were not yet finalized.

“Those numbers are slightly lower than what they were before when the YMCA was providing these services, but we expect to see them rebound before the beginning of the school year,” said Bell.

According to board member Christopher Holmes, during his buildings and grounds committee report, at its last meeting the committee discussed a Local Government Energy Audit conducted by the NJ Clean Energy Program. According to Holmes, the results of the audit have been received by the district’s consultant, New Road Construction, and an audit exit interview with NJ Clean Energy is scheduled for Aug. 14. The exit interview will include an exploration of the possible benefits of an Energy Savings Improvement Program.

According to njcleanenergy.com, a Local Government Energy Audit allows local government agencies, state contracting agencies, public agencies, state colleges and universities and select nonprofit agencies to examine their facilities for possible ways to improve their energy use.

According to Holmes, the meeting included discussions of future capital projects and how an ESIP could work for these projects. At the meeting, New Road Construction provided a brief description of some potential ESIP projects, however a more extensive review of the audit is required.