Saugus district approves suspension of child development program

The Saugus Union School District office. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Saugus Union School District board voted Tuesday night to suspend its child development program due to constraints placed on the district by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In a letter distributed to parents on Wednesday, Superintendent Colleen Hawkins informed parents of the decision, and said that the families who are currently receiving services from the program will continue to receive them through Dec. 30. 

Enrollment within the program dropped from approximately 12% of the district in March to 2% in October. Hawkins said earlier this month that the program costs $250,000 a month to operate, but the number of children currently enrolled in the program now only generates approximately $80,000 a month. 

“We understand that this decision is a difficult one for our CDP families and for our employees,” Hawkins said in the letter. “We agree with everyone that this is an essential program that must continue. By suspending the program as of Dec. 31, 2020, we are able to preserve funds to support a restart of the program and ensure its future preservation.”

Hawkins added that ever-changing restrictions required during the pandemic have made it extremely difficult to ensure the program’s stability.

“We hope that this suspension will be a short one and that we will be back together very soon,” said the superintendent.

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