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Pre-K deal stirs uproar

The uproar over the Holland School District's decision to outsource two-thirds of its universal prekindergarten program spilled over to a special board meeting on Friday morning as more than 70 residents and teachers crowded the high school library.

Just a minute into the 8 a.m. meeting, School Board President Stephen Welk adjourned the board into executive session, urging the crowd to stop listening to "poisonous rumors."

As residents waited out the lengthy executive session, some said they were there both to express their disappointment over the board's recent decision and to support an administrator who they feared might be reprimanded for his displeasure over the move.

The board last week voted 4-3 to conduct two of its three half-day prekindergarten programs at Color Your World child care center on Route 16 and one at the district's elementary school -- a reversal of the program's current arrangement.

The program at Color Your World provides the additional benefit of before and after day care for parents who want that service. However, some parents want their children to attend the program at the elementary school and are incensed that they may no longer have the choice.

When the board returned some two hours later and simply adjourned, parents demanded to know what the board was going on "behind closed doors."

Superintendent Dennis Johnson explained that the executive session was with the school attorney to discuss, in part, the district's contract options with Color Your World.