PUSH plans cutbacks for fiscal survival

By ANDREW TANGEL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

The financial troubles of PUSH Early Childhood Development Center will force the quarter-century-old center for handicapped children to lay off workers and reduce services if it is to remain open, PUSH officials announced at a tearful meeting with parents Thursday evening.

"It has come to a point where we can't operate" with the same services, thanks largely to increased expenses and reduced subsidies, board member Jennifer Grisham-Brown told a meeting room jam-packed with approximately 100 parents at Capital City Christian Church.

"It is almost impossible to provide the quality of care that young children need and deserve," she said. "We've come to the sad realization that we can't do it anymore."

After assuring that the center - "whatever changes occur" - will provide an easy transition for the children, Grisham-Brown, holding back tears, said to saddened parents, "There is a possibility that PUSH may no longer be open."

The details of the changes at the cash-strapped center will be announced next week. The center will consider combining two classes into one, let go or reassign, perhaps even cut, breakfast and lunch, said former board chairman Joe Ray Gatewood.

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