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Republicans Worry About Rising Cost of Preschool

February 22, 2005
By: Bente Birkeland
State Capital Bureau

If Republican lawmakers get their way, preschool teachers' salaries will go down.

Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Right now, certified preschool school teachers and K-12 teachers are on the same salary scale. Preschool teachers can qualify for tenure.

Senator Gibbons, the president pro-tem from Kirkwood is introducing a bill to change that.

He says preschool programs can't survive by paying teachers these salaries.

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"And the people who came into these programs to participate and teach and work with the kids at these early childhood centers, they came in and they didn't expect to be tenured teachers."

A spokesperson for the Missouri Teachers Association says without this bill, many pre-K programs in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jackson counties won't survive.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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Top state leaders say if something doesn't change, many pre-K programs in the St. Louis area will be closing their doors.

Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Right now certified preschool teachers are on the same salary scale as K-12 teachers. Senator Gibbons, the president pro-tem from Kirkwood is introducing a bill to change that. He says many pre-K programs in St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jackson county are more like day care centers than preschools. Parents pay money for their kids to attend, even though the programs fall within the public school system.

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"They're faced with a situation right now where either they have to fire the certificated teachers or consider not doing the program cause they just simply can't afford to do it."

Gibbons says early childhood teachers don't expect tenure or to get the same salary as K-12 teachers.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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Top Republican leaders say they're worried about the rising cost of sending kids to preschool in the St. Louis area.

Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Certified preschool teachers' salaries are on the rise. Last year the state introduced legislation that placed these teachers on the same pay scale as K-12 teachers. They also qualify for tenure.

Senator Gibbons, the president pro-tem from Kirkwood is introducing a bill to change that. A spokesperson for the Missouri Teachers Association agrees it's the only way to save these programs.

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"The choice is either get rid of all the certificated teachers or shut the program down because nobody can afford to pay for it."

In St. Louis, St. Charles, and Jackson county parents pay for their kids to attend even though preschool programs fall within the public school system.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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