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Montevideo considers all-day, everyday kindergarten

MONTEVIDEO -- School board members in Montevideo are considering the possibility of offering all-day, everyday kindergarten to all district students.

Board members took up discussions on the issue at the meeting Monday. They informally agreed to study the feasibility of expanding its kindergarten offering, according to Superintendent Luther Heller.

The Montevideo Public Schools currently offer an all-day, everyday kindergarten option if parents elect to send their children to it and pay a fee based on income. The sliding fee starts at $1,500 and raises about $55,000 annually for the district.

Board members would like to see the all-day, everyday offering made available to all students, but they have a number of challenges. The superintendent said the district currently offers multi-age classes for kindergarten, first- and second-graders. An all-day, everyday kindergarten would probably require ending this option for the kindergarten class.

The district also is using every available classroom in the Ramsey Elementary School. To offer the expanded kindergarten would likely mean moving the kindergarten classes back to the Sanford Education Center, where the district now houses its early childhood offerings.

Offering all-day, everyday kindergarten is not expected to substantially increase staffing costs for the district, Heller said. However, it would mean the loss of the revenues now generated by the fees.

However, he noted the school could see its enrollment rise if it offered all-day, everyday kindergarten to all students. A local church currently offers an all-day, everyday kindergarten program.

He said board members want to examine the feasibility of making the change and especially getting school staff involved in the planning for it.

In other business, board members approved a request by the choir department for a trip after the regular school year to Los Angeles.

Board members also approved a new contract for non-bargaining unit employees of the district. It provides a one-half percent increase in the first year and a one-half percent increase in the second year, the same as approved earlier for employees represented by bargaining units.

Board members also canvassed election results showing Andrew Stenson, Steven Kubista and Tim Forde as the elected members.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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