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BC officials happy with full day K

Having more instructional time each day means that the district's reading specialists have more time to interact with kindergarten classes"30 minutes a day five times a week instead of just three"said Elementary English Language Arts Supervisor Patty Skiba.

The reading specialists will not only hold small group work sessions with students, but also collaborate with teachers in lesson planning.

"They're finding a little bit more time to do that planning," Skiba said.

The specialists have also made it possible to administer the standardized English Language Proficiency Test to all kindergarten students, which helps to identify students who need extra help early on and provide them with one-on-one support.

"It's really better to jump in early on," when it comes to reading comprehension, Skiba said.

Bonacquist said having reading specialists available at every building has made a huge difference in instruction, and asked that the school board keep that in mind as they approach a budgeting process that might include layoffs.

"It's a huge, critical component of the success of our full day K program," she said.

BC Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe at Wednesday's meeting made a presentation regarding the workings of the Business Office.

With nine employees including Kehoe, the Business Office handles issuing approximately 28,000 paychecks annually to the district's 1,100 employees. The office also fills around 8,000 vendor payments a year and spends 200 man-hours on state and federal reporting annually, Kehoe said.

"Those kind of volumes make the nine of us very busy," she said.

The Business Office also plays a large role in preparing the budget and the contractual bargaining process. Kehoe noted BC is unusual amongst school districts in that there is no dedicated human resources department. Instead, that work is spread among administrators.

Having a single person to cover HR matters would be a great help to her staff, Kehoe said, but she acknowledged the district's fiscal position.

"It isn't really even possible given budget constraints to even think about getting there," she said.

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