District 15 superintendent makes pitch for full-day kindergarten

  • Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson makes a presentation Wednesday night at a town hall meeting hosted by the OurD15Voice community group. The meeting was at Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine.

    Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson makes a presentation Wednesday night at a town hall meeting hosted by the OurD15Voice community group. The meeting was at Walter R. Sundling Junior High School in Palatine. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/24/2018 10:14 PM

Full-day kindergarten could cost an extra $1.6 million annually if it were launched at Palatine Township Elementary District 15, according to Superintendent Scott Thompson's presentation at a town hall meeting Wednesday night.

Thompson made a formal presentation and answered questions at the session hosted by the OurD15Voice community group in the Walter R. Sundling Junior High School theater in Palatine. About 200 people attended the meeting.

 

Saying he believes students need a full-day kindergarten experience to be "on a level playing field," Thompson told the crowd the initiative likely would require 30 additional teachers. He said the extra teachers would cost about $1.6 million more in salaries per year.

"A $1.6 million hit would take some creativity to continue to have a balanced budget," Thompson said.

Full-day kindergarten is being offered at more and more suburban schools. For example, Lake Zurich Unit District 95 started such a program for the current academic season.

Proponents say all-day kindergarten should result in accelerated progress for young students in academic areas such as literacy and mathematics. In a report on the subject produced at District 95, some disadvantages cited include the extra personnel costs, a typical need for more classroom space and the ability of children to handle the time and rigors of a full-day program.

Parent Amy Fell said she doesn't favor full-day kindergarten. But parent Kelly Gallagher said she supports the idea.

"I think that should be your right to have that (all-day) option," Gallagher said. "That being said, I think we've already been passed up by districts that have full-day kindergarten."

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Under Illinois school code, full-day kindergarten must run a minimum of four hours. Half-day kindergarten is required to be a minimum two hours.

Schools must offer a half-day kindergarten options even if there is an all-day program, according to the state school code.

Other issues addressed at the town hall session included boundaries and enrollment trends.

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