Proctor School District To Offer Full-Time Kindergarten
Posted at: 03/13/2013 9:11 PM
| Updated at: 03/13/2013 10:40 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
The Proctor School District will offer free, full-time kindergarten starting this fall after the school board approved the change this week.
As of now, state funding only supports half-day kindergarten, but in Governor Mark Dayton's new budget proposal he wants to make early childhood learning a priority. Dayton wants to put more money into full-day kindergarten, but the Proctor School District beat him to it.
"Our district has decided to go to it, and reprioritize our expenditures," Pike Lake Elementary Principal Bill Gritzmacher said. "It seems to have some academic benefit for some kids to have an all-day, every day experience."
Currently, parents at Pike Lake Elementary, which is in the Proctor School District, have to pay $2,500 for full-time kindergarten. Principal Bill Gritzmacher said the change coming this fall will make things easier for parents.
"It was frustrating to some parents because they just didn't have the resources to be able to afford it," Gritzmacher said. "These are difficult times for families with both parents working, and trying to make ends meet and find daycare."
Gritzmacher said the district will fund the change by redistributing funds. He said those changes will be worth it in the long run.
According to Education Minnesota, studies show students who attend all-day, every-day programs have higher test scores than students who only go to half-day kindergarten.
Pike Lake Elementary teacher Patti Anderson said she thinks the change will benefit students when they get to first grade.
"We need to have our kids come in on a more equal playing field," Anderson said. "In order to do our job well, we need to have the kids here more often and this will help us with that."
The Duluth School District does offer all-day, every-day kindergarten.