GROVE CITY – Families of incoming kindergartners in Grove City will have a choice between full-day or half-day classes next year.

School board members on Monday voted in favor of the proposal to offer full-day classes to all kindergartners.

The vote was 6 to 1 with these directors saying “yes” – Roberta Hensel, Heather Baker, President Dr. Constance Nichols, Vice President Patty Wilson, Dr. Michael O’Donovan, and Ray Abplanalp. Carolyn Oppenheimer voted “no,” and J. Scott Somora and Dr. Armando Sciullo were absent.

About half of the district’s 130 kindergarten students currently attend full-day programming based on their need for additional support identified through national guidelines.

The other students attend half-day classes, and district administrators have reported that kindergartners benefit more from full-day instruction.

When families register for kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year, they will select full-day or half-day sessions for their child.

Oppenheimer asked if the district would be spending more on things like supplies, if more kids attend full-day classes.

“That’s what really counts,” she said.

The district has underspent its supply budget, said Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Finch, noting that he couldn’t “comfortably answer” Oppenheimer’s question because the budget process for next year has yet to begin.

The district has already made a huge investment in facilities; all elementary students will eventually move to Hillview Elementary School, which has a new addition and is undergoing renovations.

“That building was designed and equipped to house an all-day program,” Finch said.

The board should have cost estimates before making changes to programming, Oppenheimer said.

She also questioned transportation services for kindergarteners.

For students who attend the half-day afternoon kindergarten class, their families would need to provide transportation at the beginning of their school day, Finch said.

Kindergartners would have busing services at the beginning and end of the day, along with students in grade levels. Kindergartners in the morning half-day class would have busing in the morning and at the end of class.

Oppenheimer added that a study done by the Wisconsin Board of Education shows that half-day classes provide adequate instruction.

The district’s own research shows that full-day classes are helpful for all kindergartners, Wilson said.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• Finch recognized outgoing board members Oppenheimer, Hensel and O’Donovan. They’ve made a genuine effort to contribute to the community and the students, and their influence will remain, he said. They received commemorative cups, and kept their wooden name plaques, which were made by students.

Oppenheimer thanked the board for what she’s learned, and Hensel reminded everyone that “it’s all about the kids.”

• Board members approved the district’s comprehensive plan, which starts July 1, 2020, and ends June 30, 2023. It addresses safe and supportive schools, professional development, mentor programs, and more. It can be found on the district’s website: www.grovecity.k12.pa.us

• Board members approved the district’s audit for 2018-19. The district’s financial records are well-prepared and in compliance, according to Kim Turnley, certified public accountant.

• Nichols noted that the next meeting is 6 p.m. Dec. 4, when the board will reorganize for the new year. The meeting will be held in the board conference room at the district’s main office.

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