Southborough Wicked Local ran a story this weekend on a movement by some parents in town. The parent group is seeking free full day kindergarten.
The group met last week with Finn Principal James Randall and Superintendent Christine Johnson.
The purpose, group member Sara Carr said, is to see if free kindergarten is on the district’s radar.
“The goal is hearing about the kindergarten program in Soutborough and how other schools are transitioning to free full day kindergarten,” Carr said. “(We are) wondering what the district’s position is on free kindergarten, and if that’s something they have in their plans. If not, what can we do to start the conversation?”
Carr is a soon-to-be kindergarten parent and an educator. The research on the benefits of full day kindergarten is plenty, she said.
The majority of Southborough’s Kindergarteners are enrolled in the full day program, and it is open to all – at a price of $3,250 per year.
This puts Southborough in the minority of Massachussetts towns that doesn’t offer a free full day program.
[Note: Last year, Finn School integrated the free half day Kindergarten into full day classrooms. Now, half day students are in class with full day peers. At 11:30, when classmates head to recess, half day students go home.
Randall explained an upside to the school committee – it allows parents to easily switch kids from half day to full day at any time during the year.]
SWL reports the administration isn’t eager to embrace a change that results in the loss of tuition fees. This year alone, that amounted to $351,000.
Now the parent group is looking into ways to mitigate that cost:
Carr said her group and administrators now plan to research what the financial burden for Southborough would be. Johnson will meet with other superintendents to talk about logistics, while Carr and her group will research grants or other funding options to support the district. They will convene again in December.
“We’re still in an exploratory stage. Finding out what total cost would be, what kinds of grants are available, and what kind of increased funding can you get from the state,” Carr said. “I think at this point it’s just us putting our feelers out.”
Although the administration is willing to explore the concept for future years, it is not on the table for the next school year.
To read the full SWL story, click here.
If you are interested in supporting the cause, you can find their Facebook page, here.