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1. If this program is imperative, the money could have been found in the existing budget. The School Board received an additional $20 million in funds this year (the most money ever) and we continue to have a declining student enrollment. In 2011/12 there were 69,251 students and in 2016/17 there were 67,323 with a projected continued decline in future years.
2. Studies show no long term cost-benefit of full-day kindergarten over half day. VBCPS 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. Please review the study conducted by VBCPS on this topic. It's a long document, please be sure to read pages 19-27. The research overwhelmingly showed that no matter what program the children were involved in, whether full-day, extended day or half day, the difference in their abilities leveled out in the 3rd grade. Not only did half day students perform at the same level as full day students, often their performance was better. It can be found on my website under "kindergarten research".
3. Class size reduction should be addressed before any new programs are implemented. We have allotted some money to address this concern, but in my opinion it isn't nearly enough. We have classrooms that are so crowded not even one more desk will fit into the room.
4. 90 percent of the people I speak to who support full-day kindergarten hold that view for child care reasons NOT for educational purposes. Is it the role of schools to provide child care?
5. Families who wish for their students to remain in a half day only program will not have that choice.
(Note: these are my views, not the views of the entire School Board)