Board considers full-day kindergarten

Adam Larck

Next August could see Dunlap kindergartners going to school for a full day.

The Dunlap school board heard a presentation on Sept. 14 to change the kindergarten class from two half-day classes to one full-day class.

The presentation, which a parent in the crowd said he was interested in hearing about, started by breaking down the amount of instructional time that students currently receive.

By using various academic sources, Lonna Anderson and the rest of the committee in charge of the presentation said that students are currently receiving just 60 minutes of instructional time per day, instead of the recommended 240.

With a new full day schedule, the committee expects instructional time to increase to 315 minutes.

The committee also said that a previous challenge had been space, which the addition of Hickory Grove Elementary School will help solve.

If approved, the full-day schedule will help the district meet Illinois’ new common core standards.

No additional costs will be needed for space or materials, but the projected costs would be $225,000 for staff. However, the district expects to make $107,213 from additional average daily attendance funds, and expects to save $85,000 in transportation.

Pending approval at the October meeting, the district will start planning the curriculum in December and hire teachers around February/March.

In other news, the board:

• Approved the fiscal year 2012 budget.

While still a deficit budget, the board said that the first draft had about an $800,000 deficit in the education fund. The approved budget has an education deficit of just under $300,000.

• Heard the results of the Harris Satisfaction survey.

The survey, which was sent out to the district in April, measures the satisfaction of students, parents and staff in various areas.

Overall, elementary and secondary students, along with staff, had a better satisfaction rating than the Harris average. Parents were just slightly behind the average.

• Approved a public hearing for the next meeting, on Oct. 12, for the purpose of an administrative cap limitation waiver.

“By law total expenses — salary, benefits, purchase service, supply and equipment — for the Central Office administrative budget account code for fiscal year 12 cannot increase more than 5 percent over the fiscal year 11 actual expenses,” Kelly Funke, director of finance, said.

Funke said that the district has had to submit the waiver for the past four years as part-time positions were changed to full-time, an additional human resource position was added and, this year, a secretary was added.

• Approved an easement agreement with Ameren Illinois.

Lisa Parker, assistant superintendent of school operations,  said the agreement is “to be able to move some of their underground wiring because

it was in the way of the north parking lot at (Dunlap High School).”

She added that it would not be a new easement, just a revised one.