Sequim plans not to offer all-day kindergarten this year

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Although the state has offered some funding for all-day kindergarten, the Sequim School District plans not to provide it this year.

Patsene Dashiell, Sequim School District spokeswoman, said that though the state offered funding, it would not fully fund all-day kindergarten at Greywolf.

The district would have had to pay $300,000 of its own funding to implement it there, she said.

“We don’t want to create a district of ‘haves and have-nots,’” Superintendent Kelly Shea said in a statement.

The district also lacks the space to offer it at Helen Haller, so the Sequim School Board decided not to offer full-day kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year.

The district anticipates full funding for all-day kindergarten at both schools for the 2015-2016 school year, Dashiell said.

About 44 percent of the state’s schools are eligible for full-day kindergarten funding this year.

Previously, the state funded an all-day program only for the poorest 21 percent of schools.

It increased that percentage to the poorest 43.75 percent of schools under the 2013-2015 biennium budget.

Port Angeles, Chimacum and Brinnon school districts will add all-day kindergarten classes this fall, said district personnel.

Port Townsend failed to qualify for the-income-based program.

Four public school districts — Cape Flattery, Crescent, Quilcene and Quillayute Valley — will continue to provide all-day kindergarten classes.

Half-day kindergarten

The Sequim district now has four classes of half-day kindergarten at each elementary school. Students are split between morning and afternoon classes in single classrooms at each school.

Greywolf has room to expand the kindergarten program to house an all-day class, but Helen Haller’s available classroom space isn’t configured for kindergarten use, which is required to have restrooms, a sink and running water, Dashiell said.

The district could have ordered portable classrooms for Helen Haller, but they would not have arrived in time to be connected to utilities and inspected before the school year started.

The portables would have cost the district $140,000, Dashiell said.

Kindergarten task force

Shea intends to start a full-day kindergarten task force to put together a plan for implementing it across the district when state funding covers the entire district.

The state plans to extend the program to more districts.

“State funding for full-day kindergarten is being phased in, beginning with schools that have the highest percentage of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunches,” state Superintendent Randy Dorn has said.

Other districts

The Port Angeles School District has begun preparing to double the number of kindergarten classrooms in the district.

Those who have not registered their kindergarten students at the five Port Angeles elementary schools are asked to do so at their neighborhood schools when office staff return after school offices open Wednesday, Aug. 14, or phone district staff at 360-457-8575.

Chimacum Elementary School planned to offer at least three and maybe four full classes of 22 students, Art Clarke, district business manager, has said.

The Port Townsend School District does not qualify and is in the 51st percentile in the state for free and reduced-priced lunches, said Sara Bonneville, district manager of fiscal services.

The district now offers an optional full-day class paid for by parents on a sliding-scale rate, Bonneville said.

Kathryn Mueller, kindergarten teacher at the Brinnon district, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, said she will teach a full-day kindergarten class in the coming school year.

Last modified: August 08. 2013 6:02PM
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