HUDSON: Doreen Osmun, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Assistant Superintendent Phillip Herman updated the board on all-day kindergarten at its meeting on Monday.
According to Osmun, there are currently 144 students in the all-day program, and 115 in half-day.
There are six sections of all-day, with six teachers; and six sections of half-day, with three teachers.
Those enrolled in all-day take art, music and physical education in addition to the basic kindergarten program.
Osmun said the district's rationale for the all-day program is based on belief in the importance of the early years of education. Attending all day, she said, "maximizes learning. Our standards are rigorous and all-day kindergarten will provide time for this development." The program has already adopted the common core curriculum, in advance of the state requirement.
Osmun said the creation of all-day kindergarten was also done in response to numerous requests from Hudson parents for the option.
A third rationale for offering the program was the fact that many students were receiving all day programming, but from two different sources. They were attending for half the day in Hudson schools, and then moving on to other enrichment programs. With Hudson providing all-day now, students remain in one location and there is greater consistency in their learning, according to Osmun.
Assistant Superintendent Phil Herman addressed the costs of the program. Currently the tuition cost to parents for all-day is $3,400 per year. If a student qualifies for the free lunch program, tuition is free. If a student qualifies for a reduced-price lunch, they would pay $578. There will be no increase for 2013-2014.
Herman said that current expenses total approximately 85 per cent of the total revenues raised. This favorable position was brought about by three factors, Herman said: fewer special needs resources were needed, employees chose less expensive insurance options and lower cost of newly-hired teachers in the kindergarten program
While the current financial situation shows a surplus, Herman said that all three of those factors responsible can, and will likely change and costs will increase. Current projections show the possibility of requiring up to 97 per cent of revenues to operate the program.
Herman said that there is room for expansion at Evamere, should the number of all-day students increase. Room space could easily accommodate eight all-day sections and four half-day. A ratio of 10 to two would be more complicated, and 12 all-day sections would be a challenge, but could be accomplished.
The district, Herman said, anticipates possible growth because the first year of all-day has "definitely been a success."
Board President David Zuro said that he has heard "considerable feedback from people in the community…and it is virtually all positive."
Registration packets for next year can be picked up at Evamere, in the school office, from Feb. 25-March 3. Completed packets are due on March 6 and 7. A child must be 5 before September 30 to enroll.