The future for the Hesperia Unified School District's pre-school program is up in the air.

The district's preschool program four-year contract with First Five San Bernardino is ending at the end of the school year. And it's a tough time to ask for more money, as the state of California is again expected to run a deficit this year.

"It's a school readiness program," said Jessica Soto, Family Resource Manager for the HUSD. "Since it's been such a success, and people have embraced it ... no one wants it to go away. So now we're trying to be proactive and look at other funding sources, if the money does go away."

The program serves 72 preschoolers each year, on the campuses of Cottonwood, Eucalyptus and Joshua Circle Elementary Schools.

"We have a very good waiting list for our program," said Soto. "Ours is a school-readiness program, so our goal is to make sure kids are ready for school, physically, emotionally, intellectually."

The program's funding isn't necessarily cut. The state will present a State of the First Five address in early January.

But if the news is bad, the HUSD will have to get creative.

"Because of the budget, it's kind of scary," Soto said. "Not too many [alternative funding sources still exist]."

In a perfect world, the district wouldn't be trying to preserve a program for a mere 72 students. (The HUSD serves approximately 21,000 students.)

"Ideally we'd like to have a preschool at every school site, every elementary school site, but preschool's expensive."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at Follow us on Twitter at