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All Day Kindergarten Advances

The Board of Finance recently approved an account in which the Board of Education will place its surplus to fund all day kindergarten.

Almost everything is in place to launch all-day kindergarten, except for school district's exact surplus amount and buying the necessary resources.

Late last week, school officials promised to use the anticipated surplus for all-day kindergarten. They said the exact number will likely be enough to fund the $873,000 program, and will be known July 1, at the end of the fiscal year.

"We will specifically use this money for that specific purpose," said school board Chairman Stephen Wright.

The program will be paid for using a state law allowing a school district to place up to one percent of its budget in a separate account for later use. The Board of Finance recently created that account by a 5-1 vote.

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The money still belongs to the Board of Education although it will be in a townside account. The plan also avoids a tax increase on the additional funding.

Finance board member Andrew Palo cast the lone negative, asking what happens if there is no surplus.

"We can pretty much predict, saving a disaster, what will be there at this time," said. "We're assured the one percent will be there."

His colleague, Tom Tesoro, said he supports the program but not the funding method. "I'm going to vote for this because I want all-day kindergarten," he said. He also called the statute "stupid."

"All this is is a supplemental with a fancy name and a tail," Tesoro said.

Board of Finance Alternate Cindy Penkoff agreed with Tesoro that the program should be in the education operating budget, not a separate account.

First Selectman Tim Herbst said using the state statute also speeds up the process so parents can plan for the fall. He thanked town officials for cooperating.

"Good things are accomplished and created when we work in a bipartisan manner," he said.

Approving the use of the statute is "doing the right thing, putting the kids first," Herbst added. "We've been talking about it for 25 years."

Finance Chairman Elaine Hammers noted, "We can't do anything until the account is established."

The next step is for the Board of Education to complete its budgeting process. The panel meets May 1. 

Joan May 02, 2012 at 01:11 AM
If we're so concerned about our children competing in the new technological age and gaining admission to competitive colleges, then why did our FS and Town Council not provide adequate funding for our schools the past couple of years, which resulted in computer paraprofessionals being cut from our elementary schools (among other things)? It seems to me that many cuts to programs have been forced by this inadequate funding which will have a far greater impact on our children's ability to compete and succeed than offering a few more hours of kindergarten.
trumbulite09 May 02, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Suzanne - as a current mother of two 1/2 day Kindergartners, I have to disagree with you. My kids have learned a termendous amount including not being able to writing the full alpahabet in the beginning of the to pratically reading as we close the year. So, please don't underestimate the fine Kindergarten teachers ew have teaching our children. However, I would have preferred all day kindergarten and do support it. Just not with a plan that has not be more thought out and appropriately funded. My concern now is class sizes as they continue through the system, where are these new classes going to be when the schools already have portables and finally - the fact that no one is talking redistricting even though, you yourself said that is what you would support to make FDK a reality in Trumbull. My concern are the other 90% of school kids already in the system.
Dismayed Trumbullite May 02, 2012 at 09:15 PM
As a mother why didn't you teach your children the alphabet? My kids knew their letters and numbers before they entered kdg and how to write their name - the stuff parents are supposed to teach their kids and before you say anything I'm a working mom too and I found the time.
trumbulite09 May 03, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Dismayed Trumbullite - your post is condesending and insulting. Of course my children (twins) knew the alphabet and how to write their names prior to kindergarten, they were tested as are all children in Trumbull prior to entering kindergarten. They could not however write the full alphabet without help as many others can not and are not expected to. Furthermore, my children entered Kindergarten at 4 with late birthdays so before you insult someone get your facts straight. My point was, they started in September with basic knowledge expected as an entering Kindergartner. Now preparing to graduate Kindergarten, they can read simple sentence books and are ready for first grade. Suzanne's post stated that she and a 40 year veteran teacher didn't think there was enough time for children to learn in 1/2 day kindergarten, my current experience was the opposite. As for being a working Mom, kudos to you. I am too, in addition to volunteering hours in all three of my children's classroom helping to teach the skills. My children have completed every homework assignment and participated and almost every extra credit opporutnity at school. All three of my children have received great report cards with comments from 3 different teachers on what great well-behaved thoughtful children they are. I hope your child is thriving and continues to, but as my parenting techniques are concerned, keep your opinion to yourself. You do not know me or my children.
Trumbull Resident May 04, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I am very happy that Trumbull will finally implement FDK. My husband and I both work full time and this will eliminate one of us having to leave work to pick up our child from school after just a short time of being there, or having to pay for a before and after school program.

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