The Butler Area School District is planning to offer all-day kindergarten beginning this fall.
Superintendent Dr. Brian White proposed the move during Monday’s school board meeting.
“I’d like to propose that we move to full-day kindergarten for next school year,” White said. “Teachers are working with students that need more assistance in developing basic literacy skills than they have in the past. Time and time again, full-day kindergarten has been shown to raise achievement- not just in kindergarten- but all the way through a child’s experience in school. If we get the students off on the right foot, our need of interventions later is going to be significantly less.”
White pointed out the move is not going to be cheap- with the number of kindergarten teachers increasing from 12.5, for the current school year, to 23 next year. However, it’s not thought that any additional teachers would need to be hired. Instead, current faculty resources would be reallocated, including a decrease in the total number of elementary reading specialists from 23 to 15. Those that remain would receive increased support, according to the district.
Several board members, like Bill Halle, responded favorably to what he called a “foundational step toward achieving the goals set out in the district’s strategic planning sessions.”
The district set a strategic plan earlier this year that included a goal that all students will be able to read by the end of third grade.
“I almost want to cry with joy,” Halle said Monday. “I think full-day kindergarten (with a goal of) reading by third grade is going to have a significant impact on the entire community.”
The district could realize a cost savings of about $200,000 per year by eliminating mid-day transportation.
Karns City and Slippery Rock are among the Butler County districts that have already implemented full-day kindergarten programs.