A plan to to could come with $13 million in construction costs, according to the project architect.
Since last spring, Superintendent James Mitchem has been to implement full-day kindergarten, with the aim of targeting students while they are in the lower grades to avoid the need for intervention later. The proposal is part of a plan to shift resources toward grades K-3 in an effort to boost academic performance.
On Monday, Mitchem cited studies that link full-day kindergarten to increases in student achievement, including data showing that 85 percent of pupils who participated in an all-day kindergarten program completed school without the need for remediation.
Over the summer, were in favor of bringing an all-day program to Valley View.
Before it becomes a reality, however, board members wanted to take a look at the bottom line.
“If we decide to do this, we need to know what it’s going to cost,” board president Steve Quigley said.
According to Siepka, architects are working to design space for the program, with a goal of staying under a $13 million budget.
“We’re looking at shaving that down even more,” Siepka said.
After touring all 12 elementary school buildings, architects came up with a proposal to create space to accommodate the program, while addressing inequalities among campuses.
“One of the things that struck us … was the discrepancies in the kinds of amenities at each kindergarten,” Siepka said.
Wight’s proposal would use a combination of renovations and building additions to create equity among the campuses, while providing kindergarten rooms featuring space for small group reading, an instructional/display wall, storage space and a one-on-one reading room.
“This is going to be bare bones,” Quigley said. “We’re going to do what we heave to do, but we’re going to do it once.”
Under Wight’s proposal, the following campuses would need renovations only:
These campuses would require a combination of an addition and renovation:
Finally, four campuses would require only an addition under Wight’s plan:
If the board decides to move forward with the proposal, it will have to determine whether to launch the program for the 2012 academic year, or hold off until 2013.
“We do know one thing for sure,” Siepka told board members. “[Construction] costs do go up from year to year.” He estimated that a delay could cost the district an additional 3 to 4 percent.
“If we’re going to move forward with this, we as a board need to make some decisions in the next six weeks,” Quigley said.
The board will also have to make another big decision regarding the program: How much it will cost parents.
This summer, parents responding to the district survey balked at the proposed $150 per month fee, saying it was too high. The suggested fee was based on an estimate of how much it would cost to operate the program.
According to Quigley, 18 to 20 full-time teachers would be needed to staff an all-day kindergarten program.