Member for Bega Andrew Constance and NSW minister of early childhood education Leslie Williams visited Pambula Preschool on Friday afternoon.
Ms Williams, who is also the minister for Aboriginal affairs, was in the area as part of her visit to the Bundian way and decided to pop in and meet some local children at one of the region’s high performing preschools.
Ms Williams brought three books with her to donate to the preschool and spent some time sitting down and showing them to a few kids.
However, what was planned to be a casual visit turned into policy talk as the centre’s acting director Stacey Phelan and members of the management committee took the opportunity to raise some of their concerns about recent funding changes.
Management committee treasurer Belinda Morris spent around 10 minutes talking to Ms Leslie about the preschool funding model which stripped funding for three-year-olds to focus greater resources on four- and five-year-olds.
“Under the model only four-year-olds and three-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds receive funding,” Ms Morris said.
“So if there are some full fee paying three-year-olds that want to come, the preschool gets a penalty. This means the preschool may not run at full capacity because it loses more in funding than the revenue we could generate by filling up with full fee paying three-year-olds.”
Ms Morris said she wanted Ms Williams to know the changes could affect the long term viability of the centre.
“I don’t know if Ms Williams will do anything but we had to voice our concerns.”
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