This week, the Regional School District #10 has officially embarked upon its full-day kindergarten program, after a long campaign. Regional School District 10 with ten board members, and two towns between which funds are allocated proportionally. While the district already had a half-day kindergarten program, full-day kindergarten was a novel idea that did not get immediate support from the parents in the two counties or the local board of education. We touched base with Region 10’s dedicated Superintendent, Alan Beitman, to find out a bit about how this impressive program came together and how the district overcame challenges along the way.
Q: When a district is getting ready to embark upon a program like full-day kindergarten, we know that funding can always be an issue. Did you need more funding to create this program, or did you find a creative solution?
A: When you’re trying to introduce an innovative idea, asking for additional funding just provides a platform to those who are opposed, so we knew we had to find an alternative solution. In Region 10, we came up with an idea that I don’t think all districts have thought of yet: we decided to shift the funding from our half-day kindergarten busing program to cover the bulk of the costs of full-day kindergarten. We realized that it was going to cost us an additional $100,000 to pay for teachers’ salaries if we moved from a half-day to a full-day schedule, which is roughly what we were already paying to send kindergarteners home half-way through the school day. Once we stopped having to bus kindergarteners home in the middle of the day (and instead sent them home at the end of the full school day), we could use the money that we would have spent on transportation to fund full-day kindergarten.Read More »