Salem School approves 4 year old kindergarten

This is a view of one of the two brand new classrooms at Salem School that will house 4 year old kindergarten..

The Salem School Board at a special meeting Tuesday night approved 4 year old kindergarten starting with the 2010-2011 school year.

Most of the speakers at the meeting voiced support for starting the program, though some also objected. The board approved the measure in a unanimous vote.

School officials have been touting the program for academic benefits, but also for financial benefits. Because it increases student population, 4K will eventually increase state aid to the district.

Primary grades principal Shawn Waller, speaking after the meeting, said the district likely will have to cut three current staff positions to accommodate hiring 4K staff in the first year. However, he anticipates that in the second year the district may receive enough additional state aid — an estimated $300,000 to $450,000 — that positions cut last year after four failed referendums could begin to be restored.

The school has space for the program. Two new classrooms especially designed for 4K were added as part of the ongoing school expansion/renovation project that voters approved via a referendum in 2008.

Students would attend class for 2.5 hours, four or five days a week. There would be no more than 20 students in a class, Waller said.

Here’s is a presentation given at the meeting with details and facts and figures:


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