Currently the Floral Park-Bellerose UFSD offers a staggered, half-day program for kindergarten instruction. Each session contains approximately two hours and 45 minutes of student instructional time.
There have been perennial concerns in the community and with the teaching staff that the amount of time afforded to students is inadequate to fully meet instructional goals and provide a strong foundation for succeeding years. The implementation of Common Core Standards and new reading and mathematics programs has exacerbated this concern.
Several years ago, the Floral Park district did a feasibility study of creating a full-day kindergarten program. At that time fiscal and facility issues were identified that precluded a full-day program. Fiscally, other programs would have to be eliminated to fund an all-day kindergarten and the enrollment at that time required additional rooms that were not available.
Although the fiscal constraints have become even more onerous (tax levy cap)—with declining enrollment a review of facilities shows that the district would be able to add the necessary rooms at a negligible expense.
Since, within current tax levy caps, the district cannot absorb the additional cost of the increased staffing necessary for an all-day Kindergarten program (roughly $400,000) the district proposes to expand the kindergarten day by an additional 1.5 hours and when the fiscal climate is more favorable revisit an all-day program.
What would an extended day kindergarten require?
An extended-day program is no longer staggered. All kindergarten students would arrive to their school at the same time in the morning. Four hours and 15 minutes later they would all be dismissed from their school at the same time.
Curriculum and Materials
The district would need to review current curriculum and materials. It is likely that the district will have little problem expanding existing resources to ensure meaningful instruction.
Working with the staff, the district will create a new schedule for the class. If necessary, the district plans to link up with other districts that are using a similar model.
The district will actually be reducing transportation needs as the midday arrival and dismissal are eliminated. Capacity of morning runs will have to be reviewed and the timing for the new afternoon dismissal run will have to be coordinated with the other district bus responsibilities.
Projected enrollment right now for next year is approximately 135 students in both buildings. Depending on distribution of students, the district anticipates three classes at JLC and four classes at FPBS, for a total of seven classes.
It is anticipated that this change will create seven part-time positions at a .7 full time equivalent. These positions will be posted and filled according to current contract, law and regulation. Additional staffing changes may result depending on who applies for the extended-day program.
(Editor’s note: This is a proposal for the extension of the kindergarten day in the Floral Park School District. A decision will be made by the school board at a later date.)