A task force of 14 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake staff and
parents has been formed to study the opportunity currently
facing the school district of offering full-day kindergarten
starting in September 2013.
The task force has been charged with studying the feasibility and advisability of a full-day program and making a recommendation to the Board of Education by March 26. They will examine a number of factors, including:
To take the kindergarten opinion survey, please click here
To learn more, be sure to come to the Public Forum on BH-BL Kindergarten Options on Monday, March 18 at 7:00 pm at the O'Rourke Middle School Cafetorium, 173 Lakehill Road, Burnt Hills.
Reminder: If you can't attend in person, you can also "attend" online. See online participation.
The question of full-day versus half-day kindergarten arose
based on a recent analysis of enrollment and preliminary budget
numbers for 2013-14 -- which uncovered the fact that, should the
Board of Education so choose, the district may have the
opportunity to offer full-day kindergarten for all students.
While most NY school districts have already made the transition to full-day K programs, up to now BH-BL has not had enough space in its elementary schools to accommodate a full-day program. Ninety percent of districts state-wide and ten of 13 Suburban Council districts offer full-day kindergarten.
"Just this year, the state's new Common Core curriculum has
brought about a significant increase in the skills and material
kindergarten students are expected to master," says assistant
superintendent Rick Evans. "Kindergarten teachers say they now
need so much time to ensure all students can be successful with
the increased academic expectations that the day feels hurried
"Teachers tell me that with a full-day program, material could be covered at a more nurturing, developmentally appropriate pace," Evans says. "Our kindergarten teachers are dedicated to delivering curriculum in a child-centered way. We want kindergarten to feel joyous and not rushed or pressured."
Switching to a full-day program would require hiring more
teachers. But, depending on final enrollment numbers, assistant
superintendent Chris Abdoo estimates that the increased cost for
teachers could be completely offset by reduced costs for
transportation since 11 mid-day bus runs would no longer be
needed. Abdoo projects that -- depending on enrollment --
full-day kindergarten classes would likely be budget neutral for
2013-14 and beyond.
Additionally, the district would be eligible for one-time, state full-day kindergarten conversion incentive aid of at least $600,000 in 2013-14, an amount that could be spread strategically over several following years to offset the cost of full-day kindergarten, Abdoo feels.
Parents and residents are invited to attend a special Public Forum devoted to this topic at 7:00 PM on Monday, March 18, in the O'Rourke Middle School cafetorium on Lakehill Road.