Evergreen Public Schools announces new kindergarten schedule
The district has announced the schedule for next year's kindergarten classes. Below is a letter from the Evergreen Public Schools Superintendent John Deeder which outlines the change to a full-day every day schedule.
Dear Elementary School Parents:
I am writing to inform you of some changes to next year's elementary school calendar that may impact your family.
As you know, Evergreen Public Schools had to trim close to $15 million from our budget over the past two years due to shortfalls from the state. This school year, we adjusted the school start times at most of our schools to save money in transportation costs and we switched the kindergarten schedule from half-day every day to a full-day A/B schedule, which saved an additional $500,000. After much feedback from parents and staff, further research and study of the results from our current full-day every day kindergarten at three of our elementary schools, it was determined that the very best schedule would be a full-day everyday kindergarten program. I am pleased to announce that beginning next year; kindergarten will be offered all day every day in all of our elementary schools. While this is great news for our students, it will have a substantial impact on our budget.
For the past two years, we have had a limited number of full-day every day kindergarten classrooms. The academic and social results these students have achieved has convinced us that we must re-prioritize our resources so all students will enjoy this benefit in the future. To accomplish this, beginning next fall, all elementary schools will have early release every Wednesday to provide our teachers with planning time. Even with weekly early release, each elementary student will have as much, or more, contact time with their classroom teacher than they currently have. We will be working with our teachers' association on other issues to enhance this transition to full-day every day kindergarten.
Since there will be twice as many kindergarten students at school each day, the district will need to hire 42 additional kindergarten teachers and provide additional classroom space at each school. The state of Washington only funds half-day kindergarten, so we will have to make some other changes to free up the funds to pay for the all-day every day kindergarten schedule. Our Board of Directors is committed to this process because of the clear benefit to students.
I wanted to provide you with this information now to allow your family time to make any necessary arrangements due to the new schedule. I also wanted to let you know that Evergreen Public Schools, along with every other district in Washington, will be forced to make more budget reductions for next year due to another shortfall from the state. Once we know the dollar amount, we will prepare a list of potential cuts and post the information on the district website at www.evergreenps.org . In addition, in May we will once again hold a series of community forums to hear your input.