Board eyes all-day K

District officials and PTA leaders said they are already receiving e-mails from parents who are both for and against the move from half-day to full-day kindergarten.

"I am not in support of this for all my children," said mother of four Jennifer Burns. "I am hearing so much about money, money, money. I want to hear what's good for the kids."

Helen Salamone, director of Bethlehem's Early Learning Center who is retiring this year, said teachers would have more time with their students in a full-day kindergarten setting.

"We don't have time to do math every day, we don't have time to do science every day," said Salamone. "This would allow the time for all these subject matters."

The current half-day kindergarten structure in the district is a two-and-a-half-hour day. The full-day proposal increases the kindergarten day to six hours and 10 minutes a day, which was another concern for several parents at the meeting.

"Six hours and 10 minutes plus a bus ride is a long day," said Angie Randles, Slingerlands PTA co-president.

Randles said parents are divided on the issue.

"I always say do what's best for the majority, but I am not sure we have a majority here," she said.

School board president Stuart Lyman said it is not cost but what is good for the children that will be the deciding factor in his vote.

"What is it that will make this program successful? To me, it is the program that makes this decision before I ask the taxpayer to pay for it or not," Lyman said.

District officials pointed to more instructional time, more time to explore topics in depth, and greater focus on a child's behavioral development as some of the reasons to move to a full-day kindergarten.

"I am a supporter of full-day kindergarten, and I applaud you for your effort to plan for it instead of reacting to it," said parent Carol Brousseau.

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