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Spokane schools moving to all-day kindergarten

By Colleen O'Brien, Reporter / Weekend Anchor, colleeno@kxly.com
Published On: May 16 2013 06:27:52 PM CDT
Updated On: May 17 2013 08:21:36 PM CDT
Parents, kids head off to first day of kindergarten
SPOKANE, Wash. -

They don't have the money yet but that didn't stop the Spokane Public School board from voting to move all 34 elementary schools to full-day kindergarten this fall.

The district now has until August to hire 30 new teachers, create space for full-day kindergarten, not to mention educate parents on what this means for them.

For parents of 4-year-olds it's been a year of being in limbo. Sydney Mott wants full-day kindergarten for her son Jackson. To ensure this she signed him up at two schools: Saint Aloysius Catholic School -- a guarantee that comes with a cost -- and Moran Prairie Elementary near her home, just in case Spokane Public Schools adopted full-day kindergarten.

"Finding out today now that he can go to full-day kindergarten at the school right next to us is really nice to know that we have that opportunity now," Mott said.

She has no doubt full-day kindergarten is what's best for Jackson's education and soon little Taylor.

"For what these little ones can do in that short amount of time, I think they need all day to learn all that they can and really get used to being in school," she said.

Not every parent is as confident as Mott. The district today has been flooded with calls with parents wondering what does full-day kindergarten mean for me?

"Most of the feedback is very positive, a lot of people just asking questions about child care or people are asking questions about logistics," chief academic officer Steven Gering said.

Logistics like cost -- the price tag for this expansion is $3 million -- are a concern, especially since there's no budget out of Olympia. Still Gering said the House, Senate and governor's budget all include some money for full-day kindergarten. With that the school board was confident the expansion is a sure thing and plans are already in motion.

"We're going to be adding some new elementary handwriting curriculum for the kindergarten, we're going to be adding some fit kids so, a new P.E. curriculum for them," Gering said.

"I hope it can all come together because I think it's a great opportunity for all kids to get to go to full-day kindergarten," Mott said.

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