Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Kate Washington, joins calls to save Eungai Preschool

Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Kate Washington, has joined calls from parents on the Mid North Coast to save their local preschool.

"The preschool is in a funding standoff with the Department of Education," Ms Washington said.

"The now Education and Early Learning Minister, Sarah Mitchell, promised during the election to look into the issue during a campaign visit to the preschool. Since then parents have heard nothing."

She said the preschool had attracted significant growth in enrolments in recent months, but because funding is calculated based on a census date in August each year, funding for the additional students is yet to be received. The preschool estimates that they are owed over $60,000.

The Shadow Minister has written to Minister Sarah Mitchell calling for a funding reprieve for Eungai Preschool alongside a review of the census date process so that preschools are funded for their current enrolment.

The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey and the Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, visited the school prior to the election

The Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey and the Minister for Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, visited the school prior to the election

"This is the Education Minister's first test - will she stand up to her Department and put children and families first, or will the Department continue to rule the roost?" Ms Washington said.

"Eungai Preschool has done exactly what's been asked of them, they've increased their student enrolments. But now the Minister won't pay for the increased enrolments and the preschool can't afford to continue.

"As a geographically isolated community this will have a significant impact on local parents and families."

Labor's candidate for Cowper, Andrew Woodward, said parents in Eungai should be able to rely on the local preschool.

"But in this situation they can't because the Minister won't fund the preschool for the students it has," Mr Woodward said.

A spokeswoman for the minister said Eungai Preschool submitted formal information on their circumstances late last week via the NSW Government's Sector Support program.

"The Department of Education is currently reviewing Eungai Preschool's report. There will be more information soon."

The preschool has started a GoFundMe campaign on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2IiYfwr

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