Last week, the Nashua Board of Education’s budget committee voted 6-2 to expand full-day kindergarten to all 11 elementary schools, reported the Union Leader. But some of the city’s aldermen and two school board members pushed back, citing cost concerns.
Five schools in the city currently offer full-day K, but the Superintendent says that expanding the program could help with remediation and special education referrals down the road. She also believes that shifting to full-day kindergarten can be budget-neutral because the schools would use existing staff.
Alderman Don LeBrun, who is also a State Representative, wrote to the Board of Education:
“Let’s get real and think of the taxpayer for a change. The schools are turning into day care centers at the expense of the general public…
“This initiative is nothing more than babysitting. It will certainly morph into kids being housed until parents decide to pick them up after work… Parents must become more responsible for the care of the children they produce. Taxpayers cannot continue to pick up the tab for other people’s offspring.”
“I also realize the rest of the board cannot wait to spend every dollar they can. There is a bottom to the treasury. There is no rainy day fund beneath the box.”
LeBrun said he opposes any and all efforts to provide all-day kindergarten at every city elementary school, an initiative proposed by Superintendent Connie Brown and supported by Mayor Jim Donchess.
School board member Bob Hallowell responded to the letter:
“LeBrun’s statement denigrates the good work that our staff does in educating youngsters in Nashua. In addition, for many of our students, this is their first chance to have an opportunity at the basics of learning and working with others,” said Hallowell. “We can either see these students as Nashua’s future who deserve our investment, or as Mr. LeBrun calls them, ‘other people’s offspring’ who should just make do.”
The Nashua Board of Education voted down a motion to charge $2,500 tuition for full-day kindergarten programs. The city would waive tuition for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
A public hearing for the school budget is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. at Nashua High School North.
Read the full article here.