Voorheesville board of education approves full-day kindergarten

Survey results support the plan

— The Voorheesville Central Board of Education approved the implementation of full-day kindergarten for the 2012-2013 school year at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 23. The decision was made in-part because state aid in currently available for the conversion of the program.

To obtain feedback from the community, the Board of Education conducted an online survey for parents and the community in early January over 10 days. According to the district, of the 541 responses received nearly 77 percent indicated they would support a full-day kindergarten program.

"In this competitive world economy, I think this is going to be very beneficial to our students," said Board President Tim Blow in a statement.

The measure passed 4-3. Blow, Gary Hubert, Kristine Gravino, and Cindy Monaghan voted in favor of the plan with James Coffin, Lisa Henkle, and Cheryl Dozier opposing it.

Superintendent Teresa Snyder said in a previous interview that the Board of Education looked into extending the program in 2009, but the community was split on the idea and there was no money available from the state at that time. Now, the district is looking for input from parents.

“With the state aid available, I think now is a great opportunity to take advantage of the funds,” she said.

Snyder said the state’s expectations for early childhood education are growing and there is talk of mandating standardized testing for kindergarteners in the near future. If that is the case, she said it seems unfair for students going to school for two hours each day to learn the same material as children attending kindergarten for six hours.

“It also has to do with the needs of parents. Many parents already send their children to preschool for a full day,” she said.

According to the superintendent, the money received by the state depends on kindergarten enrollment numbers for the district. Snyder said the board is currently expecting 70 incoming students. The more children who enroll, the more money the district would receive for the conversion.

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