FORT WORTH With looming budget cuts, everything is on the table for local school districts.

In Fort Worth, that includes pre-kindergarten classes. But should athletics get cut before classroom instruction?

There appeared to be no appetite for an end to the pre-K program at Tuesday night's school board meeting, but trustees nevertheless are confronted with a problem of how to maintain current services with reduced revenue.

The district's pre-K program serves more than 4,300 children three and four-year-olds. Students must qualify for the program and most must be from low-income families.

The state is planning to cut its $4 million share of the Fort Worth ISD's pre-K budget, so the district must either come up with alternative funding or cut teachers and classes.

We always target the poorest of our kids, said trustee Carlos Vasquez. Why are we not looking at our different programs... athletics, or different organizations? I don't understand. I don't understand why we're even looking at pre-K because we know this is a program that works.

The school board is also considering cutbacks on travel expenses and could also make major changes to the district's retirement program.

On Tuesday, however, trustees said they want more information about their options before making any final decisions.


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