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Humpty Dumpty closing after 44 years
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
My name is Regina Lackey. I am the Co-Treasurer of the Humpty Dumpty Parent Co-op Preschool. I wrote an editorial to the Manteca Bulletin in March regarding the financial hardships Humpty Dumpty has been experiencing as a result of California’s budget crisis and the budget cuts being made to our children’s educational programs.

Over the past three months, our student body, board of directors, and teachers have worked tirelessly to raise funding needed to operate one more year. We have been given the opportunity to tell our story through the newspapers as well as on several TV news stations. However, the generous donations and fundraising have not been enough to pull our school through. Sadly, Humpty Dumpty will not be able to resume class for our toddlers, preschoolers, and parents in August.

Humpty Dumpty should be viewed as a Manteca icon. The school has been around since 1966, fostering children’s growth through socialization, learning, and play. It saddens me to see such a unique school close so suddenly. No thank you’s, no goodbyes, no notice that this long-time contributor to Manteca’s citizens is gone. Perhaps people will notice as they drive down East North Street and notice there are no children playing. Perhaps they’ll notice the Humpty Dumpty sign missing. Or maybe they’ll hear about it from one of hundreds of alumni. In either case, this school and its teachers deserve more than a pink slip, elimination of funding, and repossession of keys.

I personally find the administration’s actions towards eliminating children’s programs and educational opportunities disgusting. Not only will my child no longer have an affordable preschool to attend, she will not have the option of the First Five services either. And what about the kids who are forced to attend summer school just so they may attend a music class during the school year. The state is forgetting that greatness is born from creativity, ingenuity, and individualism. The state, school district and administrators need to realize that the quality of our children’s education is the baseline to their success as future contributing adults. To steal from their education is to steal their hopes of being successful in whatever occupation they choose. I am not rich. I cannot afford a nanny or housekeeper. I already pay for an expensive daycare so that I may work with my son’s teachers in an effort to alleviate the crunch of 34 kids. My children’s success and education is my priority and I am beyond words as to how I feel about education and opportunities being stolen from my children and all children in Manteca.

On behalf of Humpty Dumpty, we want to thank all the companies and generous people who have donated their time and money in an effort to save our school from closure. Without you, we would have lost the hope of continuing on long ago. However, the dream of teaching for a 45th year was alive, if only for a little while.

On behalf of the student body of Humpty Dumpty Parent Co-op Preschool, we want to present a special thank you to two of the greatest teachers we know, Alisen Kona and Jill Eckerle. You both have provided our children a wonderful start to their lives. Our children’s lives, as well as those of the parents, have been enriched through the interaction and lessons you have given us. You are both very much appreciated and will be missed.
Regina Lackey
Manteca
June 11, 2010