Thanks to expected additional funds, all Corvallis schools will offer full-day kindergarten classes next school year.
“I also have a four-year-old who’s going to be attending here in a couple of years too, and I would love to have the option of a full-day kindergarten for him,” said James Knox, who has a kindergartner at Adams School. But right now his son is enrolled in a half-day program, since full-day kindergarten is not an option at Adams.
“Most families these days have two working parents – not to say that the school system needs to be a day-care provider,” he said.
But at the same time, Knox says it is important for kids to be in the classroom.
“The more opportunities our younger kids have to socially interact – and I really appreciate the education my son’s getting here – the better,” Knox said.
The Corvallis School District has eight elementary schools – but because of a lack in funding – this year, only four of those schools offer all-day kindergarten programs. Through Title I funds, full-day kindergarten is currently offered at Garfield, Lincoln, Mountain View, and Wilson.
“Our kiddos are not getting exposed to everything that we want them to, to be to be successful,” said Amy Lesan, the Student Services Coordinator for the District. “We have kids who aren’t graduating.”
On Monday, the school board discussed next year’s funding estimates and are expecting roughly $500,000 more than it was originally expecting based on the last state forecast.
“The finance committee had talked about: now we know we have some more money, what are some options?” Lesan said. “The board is very supportive of early education. It’s a priority.”
The board decided to incorporate all-day kindergarten programs into next year’s budget for all eight elementary schools.
“I think it’s for the better for all involved,” Knox said. “For the greater good, full-day kindergarten is definitely something that should be pushed.”
Lesan says next year, none of the elementary schools will offer half-day kindergarten classes.
“The research is very clear that if you are reading to kids and playing math problems and socializing kiddos earlier – that they’re more likely to graduate and succeed,” she said.
However, some parents have expressed concern about their children having a difficult time adjusting to being away from home for so long, and would rather their kids be enrolled in a half-day program.
“The principals and teachers at those schools will work with parents on an individual basis to work something out,” Lesan said.