Budget issues threaten Bellevue College’s unique classes for many parents

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Parents say reducing a program at Bellevue College to just four classes per year means hundreds of parents will miss out on opportunities to take classes that teach important skills.

If you ask Annika ZumBrunnen, there is an art in parenting: “What works, what doesn’t, what can we do that is different.

ZumBrunnen is taking classes at Bellevue College but it’s not for a specific degree, it’s just to become the best parent she can be.

Carrie Hong, a mother of four, has taken unique parenting classes for the past decade. “It taught me a lot about positive discipline, the specifics, you know about child development, Hong said.

Parents say the college’s latest budget proposal could mean the demise of most parent classes.

“There were 44 courses that were going to be offered this fall. They were going to reduce it to 4; it’s basically nothing,” ZumBrunnen said.

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Parents say reducing classes offered to just four per year means hundreds of parents will miss out on opportunities to participate in the program. They are also concerned about the impact this will have on several preschool cooperatives in the region.

The parenting program also partners with preschools to provide funding and scholarships to families in need.

“It’s very unique, I don’t know anything like it,” said teacher Kristen Hardisty.

Hardisty is a teacher at Eastgate Cooperative Preschool, one of the places that could be affected.

Hardisty says she works with families of all races and socio-economic backgrounds.

She says more institutions should offer similar parenting programs because she doesn’t agree with society’s expectation that people should know how to become parents right away.

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“Absolutely, we did it badly, but this program has been doing it well for 55 years. That’s why it’s so hard to see them take the funding away,” Hardisty said.

Bellevue College issued the following statement in response to the proposed changes:

“Bellevue College offers many valuable programs that enrich our community, and Parent Education has earned a well-deserved reputation for serving parents and young children. We are in the process of developing a budget for next year that will not be finalized. only when the board of trustees meets in June, and no parent education section for next year has yet been canceled.

At the same time, the college faces an economic reality in which all programs and functions will have to increase their efficiency to stay within our budget. We are proactively seeking alternative funding to support parent education. If there are members of the community who wish to help, donations can be made to this program through the Bellevue College Foundation. “

A final decision is expected by June 16.

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