Hundreds of angry parents of Everett children in the pre-school program descended upon city hall Monday night to listen to Auditor Larry DeCoste detail the cost of pre-school at the request of Alderman Mike Marchese.
The crowd packed the city hall auditorium and spilled out into the hallway.
DeCoste never showed up and as such, Marchese told the crowd that nothing would be discussed regarding pre-school without DeCoste’s presence.
This turned the crowd ugly and angry.
Soon, the crowd was shouting for Marchese to allow Superintendent of Schools Fred Foresteire to speak on the subject of pre-school.
Foresteire recited a litany of reasons why pre-school is valuable and cost effective for Everett’s public school students.
“Pre-school has no effect on the local tax rate. It is absolutely essential. I don’t know why this was brought up. Perhaps the Aldermen are going to play the tax rate game with pre-school. I hope not,” Foresteire told the Independent.
According to Foresteire, Everett’s public schools are not a burden to taxpayers.
“Pre-school is free just as first grade is free just as sixth grade is free just as high school is free,” he noted.
“Sixty percent of the school budget is paid for by the state,” he added.
No figures were given on the exact cost of pre-school.
However, Foresteire implied that without pre-school, the cost to the city would be far greater than with pre-school.
“It has been proven time and again that pre-school adds immeasurably to the ability of these young kids to get a foothold in the system, to develop reading and social skills and to be fed properly everyday. Also, their parents are able to work while they are in pre-school which adds immeasurably to the local economy.
Some pre-school costs, according to Foresteire, are being paid for with federal stimulus funds approved by the governor.
Marchese’s motion was laid on the table for two weeks.