The Wantagh School District’s top administrator is recommending to the board of education that a full-day kindergarten program be included when crafting together its 2013/14 budget proposal.
Wantagh Acting Superintendent Maureen Goldberg announced during Thursday night’s school board meeting her recommendation of full-day kindergarten program being apart of the 2013/14 budget planning process. Her endorsement of trying to expand from the district’s longtime half-day kindergarten model comes after a strategic planning committee formed by the board of education in July to study the issue held its final meeting Monday night.
Goldberg said the committee determined that expanding to full-day kindergarten would require adding 5.5 teachers and also increase transportation costs but that the extra expenses are worth it since students would benefit.
“The fiscal implications of rolling out a full-day kindergarten program could be considerable,” said Goldberg during Thursday night's school board meeting. “The good news is that the state provides school districts with over $600,000 in funding to support such an undertaking the first year. Although the committee endorses full-day [kindergarten] as a concept, due consideration was given and continues to be given to the manner in which the district will sustain the recurring costs.”
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The strategic planning committee also explored the possibility of closing an elementary school or clustering grades into a Princeton Plan model, but Goldberg said it was determined that both options were not feasible and are “off the table.”
Wantagh Board of Education President Michael Cucci said full-day kindergarten will be discussed during upcoming budget workshops to see if it can be included in the 2013/14 spending plan proposal that is in the parameters of the state’s new required 2 percent tax cap.
Wantagh along with East Meadow are the only two districts in Nassau County that do not offer full-day kindergarten. Neighboring districts in Seaford and Levittown have expanded to full-day kindergarten in recent years.
Many parents who attended Thursday night’s board meeting at Wantagh High School spoke up about the importance of adding full-day kindergarten for educational reasons as well real estate values.
“I hope you guys will be able to find a way,” said Allison Meyers, who has a daughter in first grade and a 3-year old. “I hope it happens.”
“We need to keep up with the times now more than ever,” Marie Falco said. “I want this for my children and for Wantagh.”