BUDGET UPDATE: I was previously "on the fence" regarding the topic of implementing full-day kindergarten in VBCPS. So, I have spent the last couple of months researching the topic. Here are my results:
1. VB Schools 2013 research shows there is no cost-benefit. Any gains made by participation in FDK level out by the 3rd grade. http://www.manningvbsb.com/kindergarten-research.html
2. VB already offers a full-day Kindergarten (EDK) program to students who are shown to be lagging behind their peers. I am concerned that the students who are currently participating in this EDK program would be negatively impacted by increased class sizes and less individual attention.
3. It is difficult for 5 year olds to sustain their attention for a full-day of curriculum.
4. VBCPS historically ranks among the top school divisions in the state. Some studies show benefits of half day Kindergarten over FDK.
5. In the current balanced budget proposal, middle school teachers are being asked to increase their work load in order to reduce class sizes (I am not in favor of this proposal-I believe there are other ways to reduce class sizes). It is my belief that class size reduction is a "need" and FDK is a "want".
The VB School Board will most likely be voting next week on whether or not to ask City Council for an additional $14 million to implement Full Day Kindergarten and expand Pre-K (the money is not available in the current budget). It is anticipated by me that this would necessitate a tax increase to the citizens of VB.
The School Board will be meeting again in workshop format this evening to continue to discuss these issues. Send your views to all board members: firstname.lastname@example.org or to me-- email@example.com