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Doyle backs early childhood program

April 30, 2002|BY DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Some school officials fear they will not have enough space for an early childhood education program mandated by the state, but a local lawmaker feels it is needed.

The early childhood education program is important because there are so many single-parent households, which means parents have less time to devote to childhood education, said Del. John Doyle, D-Jefferson.

"When we were the nation of Ozzie and Harriet, we didn't need to do it before that," Doyle said at a town meeting Monday night on the campus of Shepherd College.

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Doyle held the meeting to brief constituents on issues from the recent session of the West Virginia Legislature.

The early childhood education bill, signed by Gov. Bob Wise recently, allows parents to voluntarily enroll 4-year-olds in the program to prepare them for school. It also requires each county board of education to create and implement an early childhood program by the 2012-13 school year.

Frank Aliveto, deputy superintendent of schools in Berkeley County, has said he is concerned about finding space for such a program, adding that it may require about 1,000 new seats in the school system.

In other issues:

- Doyle said he was glad to see the Legislature make changes that enable students who commute to other states to attend private schools to be eligible for PROMISE Scholarship money. The way the program was developed, students who attended schools out of state were not eligible for the money, Doyle said. The change was important for local students who commute to private schools in nearby Maryland or Pennsylvania, Doyle said.

- Bills that would have allowed school systems to implement impact fees and get money from slot machine revenue at the Charles Town Races failed in the Legislature.

Doyle said one reason the slot machine revenue bill was unsuccessful was because the state felt it could not afford to give up any of the slot machine revenue.

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