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Braintree Schools may trim full-day kindergarten program

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 28, 2012 04:50 PM

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Braintree Public Schools may have to cut the number of spots in the full-day kindergarten program due to space constraints.

According to Superintendent Peter Kurzberg, the full-day kindergarten programs in three of the town’s elementary schools may not have enough space for the program to continue next year, possibly leaving only the three classrooms available at Braintree High School.

“At the present time, the only thing we can say for sure is we have three classrooms at Braintree high School that could serve for full-day kindergarten, and we’ll be determining at a later date what might be available in any of the home schools,” Kurzberg said in a phone interview. “So the fact that home school had a program this year does not automatically mean there would be one in the home school next year.”

The problem is with the other grades at the three “home schools” of Hollis, Morrison, and Flaherty Elementary, which cater to children who live within that school district.

If the other elementary grades take up more classroom space, the full-day kindergarten program may be pushed out.

School administrators are trying to sort through the numbers now, and won’t have a full grasp on the space needs until kindergarten registration occurs the first week of January.

Yet if the requests are as high as they have been in previous years, there could be upwards of over 120 children asking for a spot.

With only 60 spots currently guaranteed, it could cause a problem.

Educators are already preparing for such a scenario.

“Part of some of the discussion that’s going on is whether it’s possible to utilize any of our other facilities that we have,” Kurzberg said. “It came up last year as well, the possibility of using Monatiquot School. We’re looking at that again. It’s not quite clear whether that’s a good option for us. I think a few of those things have to come together before a final decision can be made about expanding full day kindergarten.”

Worst case scenario, students will be selected for full-day kindergarten based on a lottery.

The lottery has been used in years past even, and any child who cannot find a spot in the full-day program is automatically eligible for half-day kindergarten.

“It’s optional for parents, they don’t have to send their children to kindergarten. [However] we’re required to offer kindergarten,” Kurzberg said. “Some parents do opt for a private kindergarten. But we have enough space for all half-day needs.”

Besides the budget, the only true deciding factor for how big the program will be is time.

“We need a little more time and are hoping to be able to make some firm decision after the beginning of the year,” Kurzberg said.

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