District 304 to study all-day kindergarten

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 6:05 a.m. CDT

GENEVA – Geneva School District 304 could join the ranks of school districts that offer all-day kindergarten in a year, officials said Monday.

Superintendent Kent Mutchler said the district already did a study in 2008 focusing on the educational implications of all-day kindergarten, and could revisit its information.

“We would really value and need that collaboration from our teachers and our other staff to guide where we would go,” Mutchler said.

Board member Kelly Nowak said she wanted to see a timeline for implementation.

“I think we should pursue it aggressively,” Nowak said. “I think it’s time we think about this seriously. You say it will take about a year ... I’d like to sit down and say, here are the deadlines and see how reasonably long each task will take ... I’d like to see reports on a regular basis.”

Board member Mary Stith agreed with an aggressive timeline, saying the board had previously decided all-day kindergarten was good for children, but the district did not pursue it because of finances.

Board President Mark Grosso said he would schedule a public forum on it, noting emails of support, as well as two residents who addressed the board to urge support for all-day kindergarten.

Among the issues to be considered are whether to have parents pay separately for the cost of an extra half day, or to offer it like first grade and provide services to all, officials said.

“I want this to benefit our kids,” Grosso said. “I do not want it to be some form of day care for some folks.”