A levy on the May ballot won't pay for all-day kindergarten, the superintendent said.
By PETER H. MILLIKEN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- The public schools here don't have the space or the money to establish an all-day kindergarten for all pupils, superintendent Douglas Hiscox told the school district's parents.
"We don't think that it's a good thing unless we can do it well and do it for everybody," Hiscox said of the full-day program.
He told parents Tuesday, however, that busing could be improved to transport pupils between the current half-day kindergarten classes and Canfield area day-care centers to facilitate all-day care for children of working parents.
Arrangements can be made for the district's school buses to stop at those day-care centers if the administration knows their locations by July 1, he said.
The board of education has placed on the May ballot a new 6.9-mill, five-year operating levy to produce about $3 million a year and keep the district out of debt in 2003, but that levy would not pay for all-day kindergarten, Hiscox said.
Two classes: The district has room to establish only two all-day kindergarten classes -- at C.H. Campbell and Hilltop elementary schools -- with a maximum of 20 pupils each. Offering this all-day program would cost the district about $2,400 to $2,500 per pupil, Hiscox said. The district would have to hire additional teachers and buy extra furniture and supplies to offer the all-day program, he told parents during the informational meeting at C.H. Campbell.
The district would have to decide which pupils to select for the all-day program, instead of the half-day program, and, most likely, charge tuition for the all-day program, he said.
The only way to expand capacity in the all-day program would be to rent space off the public schools' premises, he said.
Unlike urban school districts, whose conversion to all-day kindergarten has been mandated and funded by the Ohio Legislature, suburban districts, such as Canfield, must fund their own all-day kindergarten programs.
Full-day kindergarten allows extended lessons and social development opportunities that half-day sessions can't provide, Hiscox has said.