New Barrington District 220 kindergarten plan doesn't make half-days transfer
District 220 adjusts tuition-based, full-day kindergarten plan
A proposed fee-based full-day kindergarten program at Barrington Area Unit School District 220 no longer would transfer half-day kindergarten students out of the elementary schools, officials said Tuesday.
Under the previous plan brought to the school board Oct. 7, the two classrooms at each of the district elementary schools would have been converted to house only students paying for the new full-day program. Students whose families chose not to enroll in the tuition-based program would have been bused to the district's Early Learning Center at 40 E. Dundee Road in Barrington.
Linda Klobucher, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, said Tuesday the new plan allows each elementary school community to have more flexibility with how each room is assigned -- and half-day students would be able to remain at their community school.
Klobucher said the tuition for the full-day program will not exceed $3,500, $1,000 less than the estimate presented at the last meeting. She said the district will absorb more of the cost.
Several board members reported that parents were concerned that the full-day students were going to be more prepared for first grade and beyond and therefore have a leg up on students whose families wouldn't or couldn't pay the tuition.
Klobucher said the curriculum would be the same for all kindergarten students, but the full-day students would have an enhanced version of that curriculum as well as gym class every day and music class and art class twice a week.
Board member Joe Ruffalo said the extras in the full-day kindergarten are already available in the community and that the district was beginning to offer them only because there was interest from the community.
"It doesn't change the fact in my mind that half-day is where we hang our hat. That's the program for us that we are offering and this (full-day) is extra," Ruffalo said.
Superintendent Brian Harris said he dealt with a similar circumstance at his previous school district.
"The half-day program is our program," Harris said. "We stand by that and we are confident that our kids will be educated and be ready for first-grade program and beyond with our half-day program."
The board did not vote on the plan Tuesday night but planned to make its final decision on it at the Nov. 18 board meeting at Barrington High School at 7 p.m.
The board and the superintendent will host several community meetings to answer questions and hear concerns from parents before they make their final decision.
The plan will be uploaded to the district's website Wednesday for the public to view.
The calendar on the district homepage will have the dates of the new community meetings when they are scheduled.