Round Lake Area Unit District 116 will launch full-day kindergarten for the next academic season.
District 116 school board members at a recent meeting approved funding necessary to provide teachers and other employees for the all-day kindergarten program for 2013-14.
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Joseph J. Pleviak Elementary School in Lake Villa will be used for the kindergarten classes. Citing a declining student enrollment, Lake Villa Elementary District 41 ended its use of Pleviak in June and will lease the building for 10 years to District 116.
Melanie Arthur, coordinator of teaching and learning for District 116, told the Daily Herald on Tuesday the spacious Pleviak will allow more educational opportunities for the children. Kindergarten pupils had been assigned to District 116's early education center or Village Elementary School, both in Round Lake.
Students will start the day at Pleviak with breakfast at 8 a.m. The academic day will run from 8:20 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for all of our kindergartners and for our staff to have extended time for the core instruction and core curriculum," Arthur said.
Unlike the space-crunched Village Elementary or the early education center, Pleviak will allow District 116 to provide the kindergartners with art, music, a computer room, physical education, a library and a reading and writing laboratory, she said.
Despite enthusiasm about Pleviak by District 116 officials, some parents have questioned the idea of their children attending kindergarten at the Lake Villa building.
At a June 2 school board meeting, Claudia Salcedo said she's concerned about the 94-year-old Pleviak's condition and transportation for the children from the Round Lake-based District 116 to Lake Villa. Sandra Camarena asked why parents didn't have a chance to provide feedback before officials decided to rent Pleviak.
Illinois law allows districts to go beyond their boundaries to lease property for school purposes. The agreement calls for District 116 to rent Pleviak for $175,000 in 2013-14, topping out at $209,141 after gradual increases over 10 years.
As part of the shuffle at District 116, the early education center on Nippersink Road in Round Lake will receive preschool pupils. Such classes have been held at a Round Lake Area Park District facility, Village Elementary and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Round Lake.