CHICAGO (CBS) — Parents and teachers held a peaceful “stand-in” Tuesday morning at City Hall, calling on the city to preserve funding for early childhood development centers.

Chicago is moving toward Pre-K for all. Advocates have said funds for early learning will be re-shuffled, leaving thousands of child care services in the poorest parts of the city under-funded, or defunded altogether. More than a dozen others are slated to lose all of their city-granted public funding.

A deadline is approaching that would end funding for more than a dozen early childhood education centers in Chicago, despite decades of service.

Ten bus-loads of parents and educators gathered at City Hall for a “stand-in” Tuesday morning. Group advocates said the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services will defund or underfund thousands of child care slots that are located predominantly in the poorest parts of the city.

One of those losing needed funding is the Little Angels Childcare Center in Englewood. The center is a 25-year staple for getting kids prepared to enter Kindergarden.

More than a dozen others are slated to lose all of their city-granted public funding. Another dozen will see substantial reductions on June 30.

“We have not heard from DFSS, we have not heard from the Mayor’s office,” Beata Skorusa from the Montessori Foundation of Chicago said. “So, we feel that we are going to bring the issues to them, since they are refusing to speak with us or email us or respond to our inquiries.”

In a statement DFSS said:

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) is committed to supporting Chicago families and is working to increase their access to quality early learning and child care programs within their communities. Ensuring that every child, regardless of their family’s resources, gets the great start that they deserve is our top priority. DFSS has a team dedicated to assisting families with finding alternate programs if they’re faced with limited availability within their current program or neighborhood.

 

A lawsuit regarding how the funding grants were issued will go before a judge later this week.