Carlisle Area School Board members could vote Feb. 15 on a proposal to switch the kindergarten program at North Dickinson Elementary School from a half-day to a full-day.
District administrators are recommending the board authorize staff to submit paperwork to the state Department of Education to approve the change effective next school year.
The board in early November 2015 endorsed a plan to phase in over three years full-day kindergarten at Mooreland, Crestview and North Dickinson elementary schools. The phasing plan allowed the district to absorb the increased operational costs into its budget over time.
Board approval Feb. 15 would complete the process that started in August 2016 with the switch at Mooreland and continued last August with the switch at Crestview.
The Sentinel reported in 2015 that the program change would require the addition of 3.5 kindergarten teaching positions along with some remodeling at each building to accommodate additional furniture.
In each case, the district also had to purchase more instructional materials for full-day classrooms along with additional iPads and computer devices to place on carts. Scheduling adjustments also had to be made for classroom instructional aides along with art, music and physical education teachers.
The board Feb. 15 could vote on whether to approve a five-year capital reserve and capital projects budget that includes $35,000 set aside in 2018-19 to add restroom facilities at the North Dickinson building for the second kindergarten classroom. Currently, there is only one half-day morning session at that school.
Full-day kindergarten was first implemented in 2004-05 and was made possible by a state grant available through the Rendell administration, said Karen Quinn, director of curriculum and instruction.
There was not enough money to implement full-day kindergarten in all seven elementary schools. So the decision was made to put the program in place in Title I schools that had a large number of economically disadvantaged students — Bellaire, Hamilton, LeTort and Mount Holly Springs, Quinn said. The goal was to level the field so those students could compete with other students.
Even though Bellaire is no longer classified as a Title I school, the decision was made to keep full-day kindergarten in that building, Quinn said. A full-day program in all the elementary schools came to the forefront every time the district reviewed its strategy on where to invest its resources.