Free half day kindergarten but with more work at home

LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Starting this fall, Longmeadow parents will pay less for full day kindergarten. If you opt out for free half day though, you may have some extra work to do at home with your children.

The Longmeadow School Committee voted Monday night to approve the Fiscal 2015 budget that changes the kindergarten enrollment process.

School Committee Chair Michael Clark told 22News, “We’ve gotten rid of the lottery. We’ve expanded the full day kindergarten so that everybody who wants access has access, and we’ve lowered the fee to $3,000.”

That’s $1,100 less than the previous rate.

Half day kindergarten remains free, and will be offered at two schools, Center School and Wolf Swamp, but not Blueberry Hill.

With the state implementing the new Common Core standards, and phasing out MCAS, some parents don’t like the change. One parent said during the public hearing, “I feel like sending our daughter to half day next year forces us out of our neighborhood.”

Longmeadow Public Schools Superintendent Marie Doyle said in the meeting, the only difference between full day and half day kindergarten would be the extra time the full day students have to practice the new materials they learned that day.

Half day parents will receive a binder that outlines the curriculum, so they can practice at home instead.

Heather Laporte who has two young children said, “They added really insult to injury and said half day is not going to be as educational as full day, and your kids are going to be left behind, and you need to make up the difference with a binder full of information.”

School Committee member Janet Robinson said making full day kindergarten free would cost the district nearly $1 million.

Longmeadow is one of about 70 Massachusetts districts that charge parents for full day kindergarten.

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