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Investing in the early years…

January 5, 2010

About this time last year, based on State of Michigan funding mandates, we were beginning the process to implement a two-year plan to provide all-day, everyday kindergarten.  We adjusted the criteria around our Young-5’s program and created the Early School program for our youngest kindergarten eligible students.  We also began to review options for implementing 2010-2011 full day programming for all kindergarteners.  Across the state many districts asked for the mandate to be repealed due to the diminishing funding to schools and financial cost of implementing the full day program.  In late spring, the State of Michigan repealed the mandate and eliminating the funding reduction for half-day programs.  In simple terms, they left the system the way it was prior to the original mandate.

Saline Area Schools took the position that almost all districts still using the half-day model did – we retained the same program we have successfully offered for years.  We continue to offer the Extended Day Option program for families that want to pay a fee to have their child stay with their kindergarten teacher for a full school day.

Unfortunately, the downward slide in state funding continues.  However, we are beginning to look at options to implement a full day program in the near future.  As the building/grade configuration committee gets underway, we are making sure any plans would allow for us to go to the full day format for all kindergarten students.  There is still the question of where do we find the financial resources?  Current estimates indicate the net cost would be around $400,000 annually.  These are challenging times to consider implementation, however, we need to look at our priorities and make decisions that help us provide the programs we feel will have significant benefits for our students.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelly Saiya-Cork permalink
    January 6, 2010 10:41 pm

    Where do we find the funding?

    One suggestion I have heard is to cap all salaries of all employees regardless of category or education or position or tenure to $78,000.00 per year. This would NOT include other benefits. Those would continue to be bargained as a group.

    If the upper salaries were this high, it would be hard to say the adminstrators, staff and faculty weren’t sacrificing.

    Many more ideas in Saline. Keep asking for ideas from everyone. Do not limit ideas to those of committees. We’re all in this together.

  2. January 9, 2010 11:10 am

    Where do we find the funding?

    Great question. Clearly, the funding has been the most significant hurdle for us to implement the full day program. As we begin the budgeting process for 2010-2011 the issue of priorities – like saving for implementation will be discussed. In theory, we could choose to reduce expenses in various areas to have the funding to invest in all day kindergarten in the future.

  3. Erin Howe permalink
    January 25, 2010 12:38 pm

    As a school of choice parent, I am happy Saline offered a half day program this year. Our home school is an all day program and is, in my opinion, too long for my daughter. As a former Kindergarten teacher, who has taught both half and full day, I understand the pros and cons of each program and think some children do well in half day, while others do well in full day. I chose to send my daughter to Saline in part because of the half day offering. I would hate to see half day programs disappear completely for those of us that think childhood involves more than formal schooling, especially in the early years.

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