LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Free full-day kindergarten has been a controversial topic in Longmeadow for at least three years.
Longmeadow School Committee Chairwoman Janet Robinson told 22News at their Monday night meeting, school committee members agreed to have Robinson present the case for free full day kindergarten to the Longmeadow select board.
Longmeadow Schools Superintendent Marie Doyle elaborated, saying that meant a presentation of which school districts in Massachusetts offer free full-day kindergarten and how much it costs parents to pay for full-day kindergarten in other districts, if it’s not offered free. She said in Longmeadow, most students do attend kindergarten all day already. However, right now, parents must pay extra for that option. A “free” option would mean full-day kindergarten would be paid for in full by town tax money.
In the past two years this issue has been brought up to the town select board, and both years, the town has voted against allocating more funds, in excess of the school budget, to pay for full-day kindergarten.
“It really seems like a no brainer. Just for the sheer fact that with all the demands put on children for common core, and what they need to learn in kindergarten versus what they needed 20 years ago…Whether or not it’s a big part of the budget or not, I think it’s the children moving forward are what’s going to keep this community going and thriving,” said John Brodacki, a Longmeadow business owner and father of a kindergarten student in town.
Chairwoman Robinson said the school committee is unanimously in favor of this program. They’re pushing for tax money to be allocated toward it for Longmeadow’s 2017 fiscal year budget.