A proposal to implement full day kindergarten at Spaulding School this fall passed a Board of Education Vote Tuesday night. A part of the plan that adds a half day kindergarten option passed 6-2. Board Member Bob Eccles was absent.
According to Ben Rodriguez, a member of the Full Day Kindergarten Study Committee there is still much to do in order to proceed.
“Much advocacy is required such as attending key finance meetings and writing to board of finance members,” he said on the Suffield Full Day Kindergarten Facebook page.
The district formed a study committee of teachers and parents over the summer to discuss moving from a half-day to a full-day program. Changes in state standards and increased curriculum demands prompted the study.
The switch could cost the district upwards of $130,000 in technology upgrades, salaries for 2.4 teachers as well as other necessities. The town’s Board of Finance will consider the additional expenditures included in the school district's 2013-14 budget. The district budget is included in the overall town budget and must go to a town vote usually in April.
The proposal includes an option to keep a small half-day program for the number of parents who aren’t interested in the full-day plan. Committee members said they were sensitive to parents who feel kindergartners are too young to spend a full-day at school.
Board Members Mary Roy and George Beiter were opposed to the option.
"All the evidence says FDK is 'best practice,'" explained Beiter after the meeting. "I felt 'think globally, act locally'. As a country we are falling behind in how we rank around the world in education. My job is to make sure our education is the best we can make it. I had to stick with what I felt was in the best interest of the students."