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Board moves full day kindergarten to action agenda

NPSB%3A+The+North+Penn+School+Board+discussed+the+implementation+of+full+day+kindergarten+Tuesday+evening.
NPSB: The North Penn School Board discussed the implementation of full day kindergarten Tuesday evening.

NPSB: The North Penn School Board discussed the implementation of full day kindergarten Tuesday evening.

Sameera Rachakonda

Sameera Rachakonda

NPSB: The North Penn School Board discussed the implementation of full day kindergarten Tuesday evening.

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LANSDALE- The North Penn School District Board of School Directors held a work session meeting Tuesday evening where they heard a presentation from Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jenna Rufo and Director of Elementary Education Dr. Elizabeth Santoro regarding the implementation of full day kindergarten. The Board voted to place full day kindergarten on the action agenda for the upcoming September 20th meeting.

Before beginning the presentation, the Board heard from former member and current Judge Suzan Leonard during the audience of citizens.

“I’m hoping that after the presentation, this Board will vote 9-0 to bring this to action since we’ve been having this discussion about all day kindergarten for several years now,” Leonard commented.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jenna Rufo and Director of Elementary Education Dr. Elizabeth Santoro led the full day kindergarten presentation to the Board. One thing they pointed out was that while all North Penn students should be reading at a proficient level by the third grade, the current data indicates otherwise. In addition, there is an increased rigor for kindergarten students based on PA Core Standards. The presentation included data showing lower Kindergarten DIBELS scores throughout the years, surrounding counties with full day kindergarten, and the percentage of economically disadvantaged kids throughout the years.

The presentation shifted to the various components of the budget for full day kindergarten. Components discussed included staffing, curriculum, facilities, furniture, professional development, and transportation. Using high estimates, staffing was the largest recurring cost of roughly $3 million. Other costs such as curriculum and facilities were shown to be mostly one time costs. The cost of transportation raised some questions as there would be money saved from cutting midday runs, however the need to possibly add more routes would increase the cost.

The Board discussed the presentation and the costs and benefits of full day kindergarten as well as their individual concerns and questions. In addition, the Board briefly discussed the possibility of redistricting and the impact that would have on facilitating full day kindergarten.

“I’m concerned about the dollars, I’m concerned about the impact on the fund balance. But keeping in mind that our primary role is that we have to do what’s educationally in the best interest of the district, I think we have enough evidence that this is in the best interest. As a Board, we have to commit ourselves to rolling up our sleeves and finding where we can find the dollars to do this,” remarked Board Director Ed Diasio.

Following discussion, the Board voted 8-1 with Board Director Mrs.Theresa Prykowski opposing the motion. The motion passed and has been placed on the agenda for the September 20th action meeting.

The North Penn School District Board of School Directors will meet for an action meeting on Thursday, September 20th in the Educational Services Center where they will further discuss the possible implementation of full day kindergarten and hear from the public.

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Board moves full day kindergarten to action agenda