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F-M will implement full-day kindergarten in fall 2014

Board discusses future of LOTE programs

— Following a recommendation from Superintendent Corliss Kaiser, a discussion between board members and comments from the public, the Fayetteville-Manlius Board of Education voted unanimously to begin a full-day kindergarten program this fall at its Jan. 27 meeting.

Kaiser cited the rigorous standards brought upon students from the Common Core curriculum, research that indicates higher success in later elementary and middle school after a full-day program and the fact that the district is seeing more money come in from the state as reasons why 2014 is the time to implement the program.

“Students come to us with various levels of achievement, and we have to make sure that we take them from where they are to where they need to go, regardless of that level,” Kaiser said. “And a full day will provide our kindergarten teachers with the time they need to differentiate that instruction.”

Once F-M begins its full-day program, Baldwinsville will be the last district within the Onondaga/Cortland/Madison County BOCES region with a half-day program. Statewide, 95 percent of districts have implemented full-day kindergarten.

Based on census data, the district calculated that in order to implement the new program, each school would need two more kindergarten classes – which equates to six new full-time teachers, each requiring $75,000 for salary and benefits. Each school has an adequate amount of space to accommodate two new classrooms, so the only other expenses would be towards teaching assistants’ salaries, which are estimated to total around $55,080, and additional furniture and start-up supplies for each class, which could total around $35,000, making the projected full cost for the first year of the program $540,080. However, the need for midday transportation would be eliminated, so the district would expect an annual cost savings of approximately $64,283.

And if the state Legislature enacts Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal released Jan. 21, the district would receive approximately $733,000 in conversion aid from the state to implement a full-day program. That aid would cover the program’s costs for the first year and help to offset costs in the second year. The district would then assume the full cost of the program, approximately $500,000, in 2016-17.

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