Archive for Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Funding for all-day kindergarten encouraged

January 11, 2006


— The State Board of Education on Tuesday recommended the Legislature fund all-day kindergarten, and in a split vote the board urged changes aimed at starting more charter schools.

"Kindergarten is one of those long-term, well-proven routes to making sure kids are ready to succeed in school, so I'm very enthusiastic about it," Bill Wagnon, a Democratic board member whose district includes Douglas County, said after the unanimous vote.

Some Kansas districts already offer all-day kindergarten, but many don't. Under the state funding formula, kindergartners are counted only as half a student; the remainder of all-day costs are borne by the local district.

Under the board's recommendation, schools that choose to offer all-day kindergarten would receive full funding from the state for every student that attends all-day kindergarten. Those who attend for only half the day will still fall under the old guidelines.

The proposal comes with a price tag of $77 million to implement the program. But board members suggested actual costs would probably be lower, saying it's unlikely all Kansas kindergartners would enroll in the program's first year.

In November the Lawrence school board approved creation of a task force to study the return of all-day kindergarten in the district.

Lawrence had all-day kindergarten but cut it three years ago because of budget problems, Lawrence Supt. Randy Weseman said Tuesday.

"All-day kindergarten is one of my highest priorities," he said. "I would like to see it in all our schools. And it's something that parents seem to be interested in."

The State Board of Education also voted 6-4 Tuesday to recommend easing the startup process for charter schools.

Current rules require charter school proposals to be approved by a local district's board of education. If the request is denied, the appeal is heard by that same board.

Under the proposed law, charter school proponents would be able to appeal to the State Board of Education or a group appointed by the board. The local district would be responsible for funding the charter, regardless of who granted it.

Education Commissioner Bob Corkins, an outspoken supporter of charter schools, said the state board would only overrule local board decisions in rare circumstances.

"This really is a means of providing that avenue for appeal to guard against any arbitrary rejection of the charter proposal," Corkins said.

Wagnon voted against the measure, saying it would create problems for school districts that don't have the resources to fund a charter school.

"I think the whole charter school effort is misguided," Wagnon said. "I think we need to work within the existing school systems. : We have this huge list of innovations out there that schools have been anxious to implement, but they've never had the funds for it."

Those joining Wagnon with "no" votes were Janet Waugh, D-Kansas City, Sue Gamble, R-Shawnee, and Carole Rupe, R-Wichita. The six members who voted for the proposal were John Bacon, R-Olathe, Connie Morris, R-St. Francis, Kathy Martin, R-Clay Center, Kenneth Willard, R-Hutchinson, Iris Van Meter, R-Thayer, and Board Chairman Steve Abrams, R-Arkansas City.

Weseman said charter school decisions should be made by local boards.

"The best decisions for kids locally are made by the local board, not by a state body," Weseman said. "We don't have a problem with supporting good educational ideas. We have a problem with people from a distance telling us what to do in Lawrence."

The state board's recommendations will now go to the Legislature for consideration.


invisible_insanity 12 years, 5 months ago

Is a full day for kindergarten really in the best interset of the kids. I thought the half day was a good transition into the full day school system.

Or are we really talking about publically funded day-care instead?

Richard Heckler 12 years, 5 months ago

This state BOE needs to come to an end. Get rid of it.

righthand 12 years, 5 months ago

As a teacher at a school where we have all day Kindergarten, I will say that transition is not the issue. The issue is how much time is given to instruction. In our model, the kids have class time for about 3 hours with recess peppered in there. Then, after luch is music/pe, nap, snack, recess, then home. So, it is basically 1/2 day of school, 1/2 day of babysitting. Yes, public-funded day care. Be careful what you vote for folks

blessed3x 12 years, 5 months ago

Publicly funded daycare, definitely.

Raise your own kids folks.

Confrontation 12 years, 5 months ago

I think this is a good idea if more education could come out of it. Lord knows most of these kids are only being educated on XBox techniques at home. I had all-day kindergarten way back when, and I recall it being a good thing. Of course, my mind is fading with time.

monkeywrench1969 12 years, 5 months ago

I have already considered paying for all day K class at a parent run daycare facility I checked out. They get the snack nap and daycare but they are also reading, writing, and math before they hit first grade. Anything that makes a kids life easier in the beginning makes school more fun and hopefully keep them interested.

If the public system was all day and could offer the safe maybe I would go that route, but they would have to prove themselves first.

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