Teachers and district reach contract agreement
Children will now spend more time in kindergarten at Niskayuna schools and teachers have also reached an agreement with district officials over contract negotiations with either side able to reopen negotiations based on the economy.
The Niskayuna Board of Education on Tuesday, Dec. 7, unanimously support moving kindergarten from a half-day to full-day session, which is reliant upon state aide to help with transitional efforts. The completion of the district's $99.2 million facilities improvement project has allowed for additional elementary classroom space.
We have been having this discussion ongoing for a number of years, said Jeanne Sosnow, president of the district's Board of Education. "With the completion of the building project and the availability of the transition aid from the state, it seemed like a pivotal time to look at this situation again."
The state currently offers a Kindergarten Full-day Incentive Aid, which is a one-time payment from the state to assist a school district in making the transition from a half-day to full-day program. The BOCES State Aid Planning Service estimated Niskayuna would receive approximately $2,753 per full-day kindergarten student, which is estimated to be a one-time payment of $619,423 based on an estimated 225 kindergarten students.
"The board members believe that it is the right way to go and it is the wishes of the majority of the public," said Sosnow. "Niskayuna was one of only three other districts in the area without full-day kindergarten."
The biggest savings result from eliminating the mid-day bus transportation for kindergarten students, which the district estimated to save $216,257. With state aid for the first year and the expected bus route savings, there is estimated to be no cost to the district for the first two years, said Tracy King, spokesman for the district. District officials estimate the cost of the third year to be an additional $219,918 for the district.