Grove City school directors are still weighing the pros and cons of offering all-day kindergarten to all students.
After a brief discussion at Monday night’s work session, board members were divided on how to proceed with the proposal.
“There’s really no need to rush this vote,” Carolyn Oppenheimer said.
School officials have been discussing the district’s kindergarten classes for the past few years.
Most of the district’s kindergarten students attend half-day sessions; a small amount – those who tested below the national guidelines – are enrolled in the all-day class, Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch said.
If the district moves forward with having all-day classes for all kindergartners, an additional teacher would likely be hired, he said.
The current all-day class is at capacity at Highland Primary Center, which will eventually close when Highland students are moved to Hillview Elementary School.
Highland houses students in kindergarten and first grade, and Hillview, which recently opened an addition and is undergoing renovations, is for grades second through five.
Initial construction plans called for Highland students to move to Hillview in December of 2021, according to the most recent executive summary submitted by a team led by Tammi Martin, elementary principal.
The progress of the project has moved that date up to the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, when the district would like to start having all-day classes for all kindergarten students, Finch said.
The entire project won’t be completed by then, but Hillview would be able to accommodate all students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
“We want to continue the discussion,” Finch said, wondering if the board would be ready to vote in November.
Oppenheimer said she’s not in favor of all-day classes for all kindergarten students, and that the new board members who take over in 2020 should make the decision.
It would be an additional cost and ongoing expense, she said.
It should be up to the parents to decide if they want to send their kindergarteners all day or a half-day, board member J. Scott Somora said.
Board President Dr. Constance Nichols said she supports full-day classes, though she wonders if the board needs more feedback from the public.
“What engagement have we had with the community on this issue?” she asked.
There aren’t many districts in the area that still have half-day kindergarten, Nichols and board member Heather Baker said.
The board should talk to other districts that most recently switched from half-day to full-day, Baker said.
Martin addressed the board in February, saying that the district’s data shows that students in all-day kindergarten often perform better than the students who attend a half day.