Archive for Tuesday, May 9, 2006

District gives up on all-day kindergarten

May 9, 2006


Lawrence school officials have given up on resurrecting all-day kindergarten.

"I'm very disappointed," said Supt. Randy Weseman, addressing the school board Monday. A recent survey of parents of 551 kindergartners-to-be found that 73 percent wanted all-day kindergarten, but only 46 percent were willing to pay the $240-per-month fee needed to cover the program's costs.

Also, Weseman said, district efforts have been hamstrung by not having a clear idea on how much the Legislature is willing to spend.

"We're at the point where (legislators) have been talking about this for almost a year, and we still don't know anything," Weseman said. "So many plans have come and gone, I can't keep it all straight. I don't know that anybody knows."

Weseman had hoped that if enough parents had been willing to pay the $240-per-month fee, the district could begin hiring teachers and developing curriculum without having to wait on the Legislature.

But only 264 families - less than half - were willing to pay. As proposed, parents of children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches would not have been asked to pay the monthly fee.

Until 2001-02, five of the district's elementary schools - Cordley, Kennedy, New York, Riverside and East Heights - had all-day kindergarten. The rest had half-day kindergarten.

Budget pressures forced the district to cut the all-day classes back to half-day in 2002-03.

Board member Rich Minder struggled to understand why parents would object to paying $240 per month for kindergarten when they're likely to spend as much or more on day care, getting less in return.

"This makes no sense to me," Minder said, doing little to hide his frustration.

Rather than completely pulling the plug on all-day kindergarten, board members agreed to look at starting all-day programs at one, two or three schools with the most would-be kindergartners thought to be at-risk.

Other possibilities:

l Starting one or two all-day programs and limiting enrollment to students considered the most at-risk, regardless of where they live.

l Starting an all-day kindergarten at a single, stand-alone facility - the former Centennial School building, for example - and letting parents assume responsibility for transportation.

Weseman warned that state law may require the district to pick up some or all of the transportation costs.

Nancy DeGarmo, principal at New York School and a staunch advocate for all-day kindergarten, praised Weseman and the board for their deliberations.

"We know it's the Legislature that's holding things up," she said, noting that all-day kindergarten remains her school's No. 1 priority for 2006-07.

"You've not heard the last from New York School on this," she said.

Afterward, Weseman was asked if he might have underestimated the Legislature's willingness to back all-day kindergarten.

"I don't know what to think," he said, "But at some point I have to start hiring teachers and finding space. I can't do that if I don't know what the budget's going to be - it's May and I don't that."

Board member Craig Grant, a retired lobbyist for the Kansas-National Education Assn., shared Weseman's pessimism.

"What I'm hearing (from Topeka) is that (legislators) plan to stay another week and go home - let the governor call another special session," he said.


Dayna Lee 9 years, 5 months ago

Unless you are going to have teachers that plan to teach these children, do not even try to force all day kindergarden on us. I have a first grader that is ahead in her class because I was able to spend that time with her. Don't cheat her little sister. I know it's easy for certain school board members to think that their idea of public education is better, but you'll find some of us parents do a pretty good job!!!!

satchel 9 years, 5 months ago

When are they going to get it? There is no way I would ever pay $240.00 to send my kid to all day public. It may not make sense to those who day-care their kids, but to those of us who don't, it does make sense.

We are willing to pay as much as it takes to put 2 of our kids in private next year, and get them out of this system. The reason: Teachers are the preachers for the liberal worldview whether they are aware of it or not..

It would be tragic to have your kindergartner indoctrinated in this liberal religion all day long, you might as well throw out everything you have taught them that is decent and sound if you send them to all day kindergarten.

As they get older, the school focuses on passing out condoms over prayer in school.. Diversity bags for kindergartners is another gem the schools on the east coast do, and the schools in Kansas City use teaching about bullying to indoctrinate our kids that it is o.k. to accept the gay lifestyle as normal. It is deceptive how they sneak this liberal religion into our kids' minds.

Ember 9 years, 5 months ago

Satchel, and when these sheltered kids of yours go out into the real world, they will have all of these values, moral and everything, and will be systematically passed up in the world market as being too pretentious...

Religion is a personal thing, and by putting your kids in a private school before they are old enough to comprehend religion, I think that you are taking away part of their individuality in the world...

I mourn for the things your kids will lose, in terms of learning how to interact with everyone else in the world. Unless they are going to work for the Church, they will encounter homosexuals, lesbians, racists, bigots, and everything else that can be found in human society...

I would rather my daughter be able to function in the world under her own set of morals, which I hopefully help create for her in some way or another, than stunt her ability to acheive because she refuses to accept the authority of a gay man who's also her boss...

Just something to think about, I guess...

  • Dustyn

Richard Heckler 9 years, 5 months ago


What you are saying is nothing more than the indoctrination you have chosen to believe and this is nothing more than Christian spin from the far right...the Bush type of spin aka lies. You have no idea what you are talking about. No doubt there are plenty of "mainsteam christians" who would not agree with you. Other than that you have every right to choose a private school. Which public school were your children enrolled?

USD 497 has an excellent system for those who choose public school. Some parents may not have the money and some likely do not understand why they should have to pay the 240.00 a month. It's bad management in the legislature which is why a western Kansas organization is looking for moderate thinking candidates for both the state board and legislative positions.

If all day kindergarten is set up no one is forced to enroll their children. Yes for the parents who are able to stay home many do a great job with their children no question about it.

Homeschool is certainly an option in which USD 497 has been excellent working with homeschool families. Lawrence is a great place for homeschooling if parents have the time. Homeschool is demanding yet fun.

Nikki May 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow, about the anti-public school. I agreed with the part about if they didn't have to pay for aftercare, they'd be able to pay for all day school. I also agreed with the first poster about the fact that many people already work with their kids. I do want all day kindergarten, and I would probably pay for it in the long run. In fact, I almost sent my daughter to all day private kindergarten when it was her turn to go. Now we are looking at my son going in a year, who knows what to do then.

pundit 9 years, 5 months ago

"Teachers are the preachers for the liberal worldview whether they are aware of it or not.."

Good grief! You can protect your children from the real world, but some day they will have to participate in it. Good luck.

chzypoof1 9 years, 5 months ago

I absolutely agree with Ember and Pundit....I am a devoted christian, but when my daughter is old enough to attend public school, she will. She needs to be exposed to all of the wonders and horrors of the world, and it is my and my wife's job to help steer her through the mess!

Satchel, maybe the issue isn't what the school is teaching, it's what the parents aren't!!!

muffaletta 9 years, 5 months ago

What a surprise, parents want all day kindergarten but don't want to pay for it.

We have such a culture of entitlement.

Todd 9 years, 5 months ago

How can there be so much fuss? Kindergarten isn't even required in Kansas. To save money further all Kindergarten programs will probably be cut.

justathought 9 years, 5 months ago

Darn, I was really hoping they could of figured this out. I wouldn't mind paying but I do think the amt. was fairly high. Ahh well maybe by the time my 4yo is going.

gaiapapaya 9 years, 5 months ago

There are kids who need all day kdg. Not all children do. My daughter was reading before kdg and we decided to homeschool rather than have her be bored all morning or afternoon. My son, who is very great with math but not so hot with reading, quit kdg this year because there wasn't enough time in the day to get everything done and give the kids time to run around. All day gives a teacher time for enrichment that makes learning fun. Luckily we have the opportunity to keep him home and work with him here.

Not all parents have that option. The parents who are just over income guidelines for free reduced lunch are the ones who lose out. The extra couple hundred bucks they make a year won't even pay for half the school year and they still have to pay for school lunches and all the fees.

I don't feel like it's a culture of entitlement to expect that all kids get the same public education across the state. I know some districts have more money or larger enrollemnt or allocate resources better than lawrence, but if we expect children to enter first grade reading, then we will have to fund all day kdg. And why are people still electing reps who refuse to fund our schools? Having a non-thinking populace isn't going to help anyone in the long run. This legislature is a joke!

And as for indoctrination, I'm all for the ten commandments, but let them be displayed with the eighfold path to enlightenment and the five pillars of Islam and other religious "rules" so kids can actually see how most religion teach love, compassion, respect, charity, and are similar in many respects. If you are afraid to expose your child to different views becuase you are afraid of the questions that will be brought up, then do keep them home. Good luck when they eventually have to deal with the real world.

dotteboy 9 years, 5 months ago

Satchel, Come on over to the dark side. Liberal isn't a bad word. If Bush wasn't leaving children behind and straining the states' budgets you would still be able to send your kids to "Christian" schools. I guess your bible doesn't contain all the passages were Jesus talks about the poor, about helping out the least among us. Probably haven't taught them that before being gay is naughty. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren... As far as the cost, I am not willing to pay $240 a month. What people tend to forget is most parents (both parents of a family) tend to work past three o'clock. They still have to pay the weekly daycare rate for after school care. Paying $240 a month actually increases their monthly daycare expenses up to 50%.

There is nothing wrong with parochial schools, I was blessed with a Catholic education. But you may be looking for a political school for your kids. Try Rush Limbaugh's school for conservative studies. Maybe your kids will learn to be thrice married, pill-popping Dr. shoppers.

Jamesaust 9 years, 5 months ago

Folks, I wouldn't get too bent out of shape by the comments from 'satchel.' She already believes that public schools should be abolished and that you should provide the kids with a check to attend Pat Robertson elementary school where there are no atheist science teachers and math is taught by counting angels and souls in hell. I don't note this to attack her (isn't it a great thing to live in a liberal society where you can believe what you will?) but to point out that she was never going to be the majority under any circumstances.

While several plausible theories for a "no" vote have been mentioned here, one seems to have been missed - people voted "no" because they believed there would be a plausible way that the all-day program might yet be funded from the public treasury. Seeing that the Legislature has yet to work out their new spending, it may be premature to guess what the end result will be at this time.

mztrendy 9 years, 5 months ago

Too bad. I'm for all day kindergarten.

pt 9 years, 5 months ago

Sending a kid to private school versus public isn't going to solve anything. Private school teachers frequently have advanced degrees, and if you look at the stats the farther along in college a person is the more likely they are to be atheist.

I am Christian, and want the best for my kids. Thats why I'm making sure they get taught what they need at home...anyone who relies on the school to teach their kids much of anything other than basics is setting themselves up for disappointment.

I would do Lawrence Virtual School well before I even considered a private school. What I find sad is how Minder says "it makes no sense to me" regarding paying $240 a month to public school versus day care. HELLO...not every child in the area goes to day care! My wife takes care of our two kids at home, and if you were to burden us with an extra $240/month for public kindergarten we'd either homeschool or move (we can't afford it on one salary).

StirrrThePot 9 years, 5 months ago

I am sending my kiddo to private school for kindergarten in the fall. I believe he would benefit from all day kindergarten, but alas, it is not available so I will have to do my part to make up for it. Big whoop--isn't that what parenting is all about?

Whether you choose private, public, or homeschooling is strictly your choice in deciding what is best for your child. There are merits for all 3, but each has its pitfalls as well. We need to pay close attention and be ready to adapt accordingly as every child is different and will react in different ways.

I think most of us who have posted agree that our kids need to be exposed to the "real world" but the main question is how we approach it. I am sending mine to a private school because I want to help build a strong foundation of faith that supplements what I and my better half will teach. Eventually we may move into public school, we will see. Homeschooling is not an option as we both work full time, but we also feel our kiddos need to get outside of the home and experience those social and educational opportunities without us. We can teach them the rest.

KSChick1 9 years, 5 months ago


NTBC 9 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps Mr. Minder should actually undertand how this actually works before he vents to the paper. The $240 doesn't replace the cost of day care - it's in addition to the cost of daycare since school gets out at 3:00.

Todd 9 years, 5 months ago

Lawrence public schools are already riddled with required fees.

KaraGourley 9 years, 5 months ago

The fee seems large but when you look at it broke down over the month and what you'd be spending for day care... for those of us that work. It isn't all that bad. Breaks down to about 12 bucks a day. Can't find good day care for that!

I am all for all day kindergarten. I think its a lot harder on the stay home parents to handle than it is for the kids to handle.

bankboy119 9 years, 5 months ago

chzy...I thought like you until very recently. I went to public school, minus the 2 1/2 years of homeschooling and my wife was homeschooled/private schooling. I can say w/o a doubt she is a much better person than I am. I wish I could take back much of what I did b/c it was awful. They don't have to be thrown in to all the crap before they can think for themselves. If you look at who runs this country, many many many of them went to private schools. Private schooling is the way to go. They still know how to interact in the real world.

Homeschooling on the other hand....they have to be around people other wise they will not know how to interact.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 4 months ago

Homeschooling is not necessarily sheltered. There are many opportunities to expose children to life's elements no matter what educational source is chosen. Lack of socialization is consistently a first thought so many times when homeschooling is mentioned. Soccer, Arts Center, interaction with neighborhood children and/or children at the park and socializing with families who do not homeschool are just a few means of socialization that homeschool parents access. Socialization is everywhere.

Children can lead very sheltered lives no matter type of schooling is thrust upon them.

budwhysir 8 years, 8 months ago

So how much does it cost to send kids to 1st grade??

I note they talked about using the Centennial building that is already what? EMPTY. So at some point the school district decided it had the money to pay for upkeep and utilities on a building for what? A VIRTUAL SCHOOL. What happens at this school, people check out lap tops that are supplied by the school district COSTING HOW MUCH???? And go to school at home.

They had all day kindergarten but budget cuts made them have to reduce to half day. How much did it cost when they did have all day kindergarten.

They would have to hire teachers and find space?? dont they already have am and pm classes?? And most schools have more than one teacher, so wouldnt it be that the class size would double, and the teachers would only teach one class. If this is realy a problem then I assume they already need to hire more upper grade teachers because after kindergarten those kids graduate to first grade and go to school all day

Letting parents be responsible for transportation???? Dont they already have to pay for kids to ride the bus?? Must be different for kindergarten

Godot 8 years, 8 months ago

budwhysir, I see you have more than a political interest in all day kindergarten. All day kindergarten seems to be more important to some than to others. What is wrong with letting the ones who find it important to send their children to a private half day kindergarten, after the public half day is over, and let those who do not see the need for all day kindergarten let their kids come home and play? And leave the taxpayer out of it?

bearded_gnome 8 years, 8 months ago

well spoken Godot, Rich Minder, running for reelection to the school board seems our local all-day-K proponent.

wow Bud, you were positively prolix! you must feel very strongly about this.

btw, I fully agree with you two good gentlemen on this point.

budwhysir 8 years, 8 months ago

Godot, I would say I have to agree that tax payers shouldnt have to pay this.

It seems that the school district is paying alot of money for upkeep on these empty buildings and we are spending alot of money on the virtual school.

I dont agree with the fact that all day kindergarten costs anymore than half day kindergarten. The teachers are already there. I will have to sit and think of best way to say what Im trying to say. The costs just dont add up to me.

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