WEATHERSFIELD School board delays full-time kindergarten

The district is looking for computers for pupils who don't have them at home.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Weathersfield Board of Education has delayed for at least a year the start of full-day kindergarten.
Cindy Mulgrew, Seaborn Elementary principal, presented a detailed report to the board this week citing statistics and opinions among educators on full-day kindergarten and what her own staff thinks about it.
Survey results: A community survey showed that 80 of the 194 parents of kindergarten-age pupils who responded want full-day kindergarten.
The district offers half-day kindergarten, but the schedule has pupils alternately attending all day for three days one week, then two days the next.
The state still provides only half the money for kindergarten pupils that it does for other grades.
The district has 68 pupils in kindergarten this year. It would have to hire three or four additional teachers and find its own funding to pay for full-day kindergarten, Mulgrew said.
Saving money: Superintendent Rocco Adduci noted that, despite projections of a deficit by 2005, district treasurer Angela Lewis is saving money for the cost of a full-day program.
He said there is financial instability now because of the costs of providing vocational education for older pupils and health insurance premiums are costing an additional $283,000 this year.
Computer program: Meanwhile, the district has begun a computer roundup program in which it is seeking donations of used computers that can be refurbished and given to pupils who do not have their own at home.
School board member Douglas Darnall has asked that any businesses or individuals who may have extra computers equipped with at least a Pentium I hardware chip contact him.
He said volunteers will upgrade the computers before they are passed on to pupils to use for school work.
The goal is to obtain 150 computers by the end of the year.
A recent survey in the district revealed that 15 percent of pupils or families have no home computer.
Donation promise: EDS Corp., a computer software company, has promised to donate 15 computers to the district, and another 15 are expected in a week or two.
Another business has indicated it may be able to donate computers, Darnall said.

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