The Woodstock Elementary School Board approved a proposal Tuesday to start full-day kindergarten for the 2012-2013 school year. The plan passed by a 2-0 vote, with board member Alita Wilson absent.
The proposal, put forward by Principal Karen White, had been discussed a great deal in the previous two board meetings. The school also put out some surveys to parents and teachers, with most respondents supportive of the change, according to White. Those in favor of full-day kindergarten said the plan would help working parents (who otherwise have to shoulder the rising cost of daycare), and make the day less rushed academically. Some opponents who spoke out worried that the full-day schedule would be too much for some children to handle.
This process began after some parents in 2010 requested that the school review a possible full-day kindergarten program, according to school officials. On Tuesday, White said the support seen in the surveys has continued since announcing the plan to the community in late 2011.
“Since it has been publicized, the feedback I’ve heard has been positive from parents,” White told the board. The response from school staff has been supportive as well, noted WES Board Chair Paige Hiller.
Woodstock Early Bird asked the WES Board how much this change might cost or if it will affect taxpayers in any way? WES Principal Karen White provided this response:
“The new costs for moving to full day from our extended day is the personnel expenses of our teacher and our assistant. Currently the kindergarten teacher works providing remedial reading support AFTER kindergarten ends in the afternoon. Given our declining enrollment, we are eliminating this remedial portion of her position and assigning her to the full day kindergarten position. The increase in teacher time for kindergarten and is matched with a reduction in teacher time for remedial instruction. The assistant position increases from 80% to 100%. But again, we have reduced another assistant position in the school so there is no net increase in staff or cost. The end result is that we are able to improve the kindergarten program without a net increase in personnel costs in the regular instruction portion of the budget. This is a good time to make this change both financially and instructionally.”
The current Woodstock kindergarten day is from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Starting this fall, kindergarteners will attend for the full school day – from 8 a.m. to 2:50 p.m.