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      Manistique parents want a preschool program for their kids

      There's a shortage of daycare within the city of Manistique.

      Parents submitted a letter to the Board of Education asking them for help. Now they're developing a tuition-based half-day preschool program.

      Officials have also applied for a daycare license to run a daycare center for the remainder of the day.

      Jennifer Thayer TMs three-year-old son, Jason, didn't qualify for the Great Start Readiness Program. It's based on income and risk factors, and there were no open slots at another preschool in town. She now takes him twice a week to an Escanaba preschool and the weekly gas cost is around $60.

      This is the time in their lives when they're open to the whole world, said Thayer. Everything is exciting and new and fun. I just think that an early education lays a good foundation for the years to come."

      A subcommittee was formed to create a district-run preschool program. It may start as early as January 2012 and will be in what TMs currently used as a music room at Emerald Elementary School. It's estimated that around 10-15 children will participate in the new program. Right now they're being cared for by relatives or private sitters.

      But how much will it all cost?

      Right now we have not yet set a monetary amount for the program, said Manistique Area Schools Superintendent, Kathy McDonough. That ultimately will be a board decision as to what we charge for it, but that's the job of the subcommittee right now."

      Ms. Thayer said she has high hopes for the program, which will operate on parent-paid tuition. It will give her son a better chance to socialize and improve his speech. Right now Jason is seeing a speech therapist.

      I really want to see him be able to talk to that child and that child understand what he's saying," Thayer said.

      The subcommittee will submit the plan to the school board in November for approval.