The money from the state must be used to create programs such as all-day kindergarten.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
NILES -- The school district is using most of its parity funds to offer all-day kindergarten at the elementary schools this year.
Parity funding is money from the state aimed at leveling the playing field between rich and poor school districts.
Niles will receive $277,000 this year and plans to use most of that for all-day kindergarten. Some of the money also will be used for inclusion, or the requirement that school districts teach special education pupils in the buildings where they would attend rather than sending them to special programs at a specific building.
School districts must spend the parity money on new programs such as all-day kindergarten, tutoring for at-risk pupils or advanced placement classes.
"All-day kindergarten is a national trend and a state-recommended trend," said Superintendent Pat Guliano. "Students in all-day kindergarten do better on proficiency tests and other tests."
According to a July publication from the Ohio School Boards Association, researchers in a 1992 study found that pupils in all-day kindergarten showed more independent learning and more productivity in working with other children than those in half-day kindergarten.
For the last few years, the district has provided all-day kindergarten for economically-disadvantaged pupils or about 26 percent of the district's kindergartners.
More teaching time: Guliano said the curriculum for kindergarten pupils won't change.
"We'll just have more time to reinforce what is taught," he said. "Instead of only three hours a day, we'll have all day."
The district created two additional kindergarten teaching slots to accommodate the change. The state money will be used for the additional salaries and for supplies.
Because many parents wait until just before school starts to register their children for kindergarten, the district doesn't yet know the exact number of pupils to be enrolled this year. School starts Aug. 28.
Reasons for move: The all-day kindergarten isn't a cause of moving some of the children who would attend kindergarten at Bonham Elementary School to Lincoln, the superintendent said.
Guliano said that move is because nearly double the number of children who signed up for kindergarten at Bonham last year signed up this year.
"There's fluctuation in neighborhoods," he said.
The requirement to teach special education pupils in their home school buildings also is a factor, Guliano said.