The Madison County Board of Education voted 4-1 Thursday evening to approve a plan for implementing all-day kindergarten in the district in the fall of 2014. The Board reviewed three plans submitted by Superintendent Elmer Thomas and approved the option recommended by the superintendent.
“As a district, we are very excited about the educational opportunities that all-day kindergarten will provide for our students,” Thomas said.
The plan approved by the Board includes opening four kindergarten academies in the fall of 2014 to house all-day kindergarten. Kingston Elementary and Waco Elementary will each house kindergarten academies. Shannon Johnson Elementary will house an academy for kindergarten students from Shannon Johnson and Silver Creek elementaries and some students from Kirksville Elementary. Mayfield Elementary will close as an elementary school and reopen as a kindergarten academy to house students from White Hall, Glenn Marshall, Kit Carson, and Daniel Boone elementaries as well as some students from Kirksville Elementary.
“Kindergarten academies offer many opportunities for teacher collaboration and academic opportunities,” Thomas said.
The recommended plan will relieve overcrowding at several of the district’s schools, will not require redistricting, and the total cost for implementation of the plan would be around $930,000 annually. The cost will include 13 additional kindergarten teachers and 15 additional para-educators.
Other considered options included all-day kindergarten at each elementary school with mobile classrooms added to overcrowded schools. The total cost to the district would be about $1.86 million, which includes a one-time cost of $480,000 to purchase 12 mobile classrooms. Adding all-day kindergarten at each school would increase the number of additional teachers to 20 and an additional 20 para-educators and be an annual cost of $1.38 million.
The third option explored by Thomas and his staff was the possibility of completely redistricting the county in order to create space at each elementary school for the additional kindergarten classrooms needed. After work to redistrict was complete, the district would still need an additional 20 kindergarten teachers and an additional 20 para-educators at an annual cost of $1.38 million.
“We believe creating the four kindergarten academies will give each kindergarten student the best opportunity for a great experience in their first year of school,” Thomas said, adding that the academies are also a very efficient option.
The Board of Education is planning to host an informational meeting for parents and community members at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25, in the auditorium at Madison Middle School.