By Sue Botos
The success of this year’s pilot all-day kindergarten program has fueled interest among families and the potential for three sections during the 2017-2018 school term.
Superintendent Michael Shoaf has announced that 66 children, out of a class of 146 so far, were entered into the Feb. 14 lottery for placement in the program, just six shy of enough students for three sections of 24 each. Only 37 families entered their children’s names into last year’s lottery, resulting in one 26-member class for 150 students.
“We can have 72 students with a third section. With 24 (students) per class, we can come close to covering the cost,” stated Shoaf. He noted that if an additional six children are registered, those now on the waiting list would be able to participate.
The price of all-day kindergarten was seen as a deterrent last year, with parents balking at the $3,400 price tag ($1,700 for those on the free and reduced lunch program). Some of the those who had lobbied for the program last year, stating Rocky River was the only Westshore suburb which did not offer a complete day of kindergarten, said they did not enroll their children due to the cost.
Space was also an issue for the initial program, with two tutoring rooms planned to be converted to classrooms. Now with arrangements for the district preschool to be moved from Goldwood Primary School to Beach School underway, administrators state that space for three sections will not be a problem.
Despite the interest in all-day kindergarten, half-day classes will be available for those who want that option for their children. “Some people still prefer the half-day,” noted school board member Addie Olander.