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VVSD Explores Costs of All-Day Kindergarten

Architect presents plans to outfit each campus for the program.

A plan to to could come with $13 million in construction costs, according to the project architect.

Craig Siepka of Darien-based Wight & Company said renovations, additions or both will be needed at each of the district’s 12 elementary schools to create space for the all-day program.

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.

tom January 11, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Peteee363, did you read before you replied? She even emphasized YEAR. I'm not saying that she's right because I do believe that the burden shouldn't be passed on to all of the property tax payers but PLEASE read before you make stupid comments like this one.
tom January 11, 2012 at 01:09 PM
What they also gloss over is that they only gave surveys to parents with children in the district. What do you think the results would have been if they sent a survey to EVERYONE that pays property taxes to the district? My guess is that the results would be A LOT different!
Giselle Gerolami January 11, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Most of the country has all day Kindergarten. Why do we lag behind?
Michael January 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Peteee, You're exhausting. Again with the homeschooling argument? Don't you get sick and tired of rehashing the same things over and over?
Michael January 11, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Again, exhausting. Repair shops? Really? Day care centers? Really? It's a proven form of education that helps students succeed in the long run. I have no problem with my tax dollars going to the education system. If that makes me slavishly extolling the talking points of the left in your opinion, then so be it. I believe that our education system should be well funded in order to meet the requirements of our students in this district. I will soon by having my kids enter this school system and I think it would be a wonderful asset to have a full day kindergarten. Not as a daycare, but as a means to a better education. Enjoy comparing my logic to an auto repair shop or whatever other nonsense you choose. Have a great day and I hope you enjoy the photo industry. I hope your pics are selling enough to have your tax dollars fund your neighbor's education...oh wait...I mean day care facility.

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