The Board of Education has directed Acting Superintendent of Schools John Reed to develop an example of what the 2013-14 school budget would look like with the inclusion of full-day kindergarten, and report back to the school board before either its June 18 or July 16 meetings.
Following the school district’s proposed 2013-14 budget winning approval in a referendum on Tuesday, June 4, Dr Reed told The Bee he was looking at as much as a half-million dollar shortfall, which would have to be found somewhere in the approved $71,045,304 request in order to consider implementing full-day kindergarten in September.
Dr Reed told the school board at its meeting on Thursday, June 6, that to consider implementing full-day kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year, would mean not including any of the proposed new positions in the budget, with the exception of security positions and those associated with full-day kindergarten.
“I could probably come back to you with a way to make this happen,” Dr Reed said, while explaining that he may have to present a budget with a $150,000 to $200,000 shortfall built in that he said could be worked around with freezes and other actions throughout the next budget cycle.
Dr Reed also made it clear that implementing full-day kindergarten next year would put a strain on the school budget, but he also suggested getting the implementation accomplished this year if it is a priority of the school board.
Multiple members of the public expressed support for full-day kindergarten at the start of the meeting, while one expressed support for it as long as other programs in the district are unharmed. One speaker asked the school board to consider not implementing. Doing so, the speaker said, would take away a student’s one option of a half-day kindergarten program.
While some members expressed concerns, ranging from costs to what would not be included in the budget, the school board voiced support of implementing full-day kindergarten, if possible.
Dr Reed said he wanted to make sure the school board did not make a decision without having “the numbers” before them, and promised to present those numbers at one of the school board’s next two meetings, June 18 or July 16.
Board of Education Chair Debbie Leidlein said she wholeheartedly supports going back to look at how to implement full-day kindergarten with the 2013-14 budget as passed by voters on Tuesday.