Could All-Day Kindergarten Be in Geneva By Next Year?

School Board members agree they want to pursue the option "aggressively," but many questions remain about cost, space and planning.

Geneva School Board members said Monday night that they want to aggressively pursue all-day kindergarten as an option for parents of School District 304 students.

But almost in the same breath, they expressed concerns about the cost, the curriculum and how equitable that option would be when some students will choose to stay in half-day classes.

"I would like us to pursue this aggressively," School Board Vice President Kelly Nowak said. "I think it’s way past time."

St. Charles School District 303 already has all-day kindergarten classes. The cost there is $219.44 per month, per student. Students attend kindergarten from 8:40 a.m. to 3 p.m., the same as other students. They are bussed to school and can purchase lunch or bring their own.

Geneva took a hard look at the option back in 2007 and 2008, creating a task force that recommended implementation of the full-day option. But the board decided not to pursue full-day kindergarten at that time, primarily because of the cost.

Among the costs that will be considered in the next several months are the space requirements at schools, transportation, lunch programs and the estimated addition of 8.5 kindergarten teachers. A full list of "to-do's" is provide on the School District 304 website.

"It’s going to take at least a year of study to see how this might be implemented," District 304 Superintendent Kent Mutchler told the board Monday night.

School Board member Bill Wilson said he felt implementation by the 2014-15 school year would be "very aggressive" and 2015-16 would be more realistic.

Typically, parents must pay an additional fee for full-day kindergarten classes. Some families can't afford those fees and others simply will prefer to opt for a half-day. Wilson and the other board members said they were concerned about the equitability of a system in which some students attend half-day classes and others full-day classes.

"There’s going to have to be some way to make sure all of these kids are on the same par when they transfer to first grade," Wilson said.

Board members agreed to establish a task force to examine the contingencies of implementing full-day kindergarten. School Board President Mark Grosso suggested a forum to gather public input, and Nowak and boardmember Mary Stith said they'd like to see a timeline put together as quickly as possible.

Driving some of the urgency is the adoption of a common-core curriculum mandated by the state of Illinois and adopted by most states in U.S. The target date for implementation of the new common-core assessment is the 2014‐15 school year, so Geneva educators are hoping that the planning of all-day kindergarten can be incorporated with the planning for common-core curriculum.

"As we look at common core, we have to be thinking how it fits in," Nowak said.

Geneva schools did improve the kindergarten curriculum as a result of the studies it did in 2007 and 2008, starting the "Foundations" program for students who needed academic help in preparation for first grade.

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How do you feel about the possibility of full-day kindergarten classes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments field.

Ellabulldog July 25, 2013 at 07:27 AM
I can gripe about more:) I could go on about individuals that use the system for handouts but have all the time in the world to spend on the internet yet can't support themselves:) Not saying that is you, you may be a wounded vet with a special needs child who was orphaned as a baby and are widowed unexpectedly.... but why bring this all up anyway? I was just talking about kindergarten, in a community where people "most, not you" pay outrageous taxes and don't have this offered to their children. I believe Geneva has great programs for kids with special needs, not sure how the Trayvon came up in a discussion on full day kindergarten?, Where are your children taking music lessons? There are many great places in town. Should schools teach music? Not every kid is talented. Of course that is for another discussion board too. I don't want to know your situation nor ever asked, seems you like to get support like from Lulu, you questioned my heart for children really? all based on a simple comment about kindergarten, so you can say stuff on here yet don't like responses to your posts? Trayvon?? really where does that fit in here? Of course that is for another discussion board. also Scarlett if you think about it your moniker is the name of a character in a book that was a slave owner,
Lulu Phillips July 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM
@ella Do not reference me in your posts. You come across as a bully. The post you mentioned me in was sarcastic and self serving. She never asked me to support her, I chose to after reading the posts. Geneva Patch is not the site I thought it was. I thought it was community, instead it's Jerry Springer. I hope the owner of this blog pulls it down.
Scarlett O'hara July 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM
My mother named me Scarlett, a name in the family before THAT book came along. I married a man named O'Hara and took the name so I would have the same name as my children. I am aware of my name but thank you for pointing it out......tacky
Lulu Phillips July 25, 2013 at 12:50 PM
I joined Geneva Patch for both the selling page and community. I posted on here yesterday because I had identified with Ms O'Hara and wanted her to feel less alone. Since that post its been a war on here! All I see are two childish and insensitive women who have to have the last word go and attack each other. BOTH of you come across as racially intolerant of each other. This is supposed to be Geneva community? I'm disgusted by BOTH of you and ashamed to say I'm from Geneva. If you want to keep this immature fight up please, please keep me out of it. Respond to me as you like but do not expect a reply. I'm probably turning off this account, it isn't what I thought it would be. My attention needs to go to my son not either one of you.
Ellabulldog July 25, 2013 at 06:55 PM
wow lulu, really you maybe need to not be on here if posts between two people that doesn't concern you can effect you so much, if you are new to this type of thing don't believe everything that is written, also not everything is going to be all nice when people disagree, and it is ok to disagree, how am I racially intolerant? you don't even know what color I am, Scarlett brought up race for no reason.. and brought other nonsense in to what was supposed to be a discussion about schools, not color, not economic status, not Trayvon for sure anyways have fun on here if you want, hope you sell some stuff, and my name is really Ella and I married a Bulldog...:) yes another dig at Miss Scarlett


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