Monroe kindergarten schedule changing

  • By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, February 16, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

MONROE — Big changes are coming to the Monroe School District’s kindergarten program this fall.

By a 3-2 vote, the district board on Monday adopted a plan that would have kindergartners attending a full day of class twice a week, and every other Monday.

The goal is to save money on bu

ses now used to transport kids between morning and afternoon half-day classes. The district figures it will save about $118,000 per year by adopting the schedule. The district is facing a $2.1 million budget shortfall next year due to declining enrollment and state budget cuts.

Board directors Tom MacIntyre, Greg Accetturo and Jim Scott voted in favor of the new schedule.

“We don’t have money to do what we want,” board member Jim Scott said. “We need to make tough decisions and this is the first decision of the year.”

Board president Jamie Wright and director Debra Kolrud voted against the plan.

Wright said the decision is not consistent with what the board has approved in the past.

“In the past three years we decided on cuts, we said we won’t change the structure of the schools,” Wright said.

The district currently has about 400 kindergarteners. Not all of them use the mid-day transportation. Approximately 144 students ride the kindergarten buses; others are picked by parents or use the same buses as elementary students.

In a packed board meeting, most who spoke to the board were against the proposal. They said some children do not have the stamina to attend for a full-day, the off-days inhibit teachers’ ability to set a routine, and that illness on a school day could cut a whole week’s learning in half.

Pre-school helper Cassie Fontenot said the board’s decision keeps the kids out of school.

“They are not going to have a lesson at home. They’re watching TV,” she said after the meeting.

It also will make parents move out of the Monroe area, she said.

Others were not keen to the idea, but said children are adaptable and if cuts are not made in transportation, more students could suffer from other cuts instead.

“I don’t think it is the best choice but it’s not a horrible one,” parent Melissa Magelsen said. “We can make it work.”

As part of its plan, the board will allow at least one elementary school to continue with half-day kindergarten as long as parents provide transportation. Parents can pay tuition to extend those classes to a full day.

Kindergarten registration starts at 6:30 p.m. March 1 at every elementary school in the district. For more information, parents can call their neighborhood school.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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