A sub-committee aimed at exploring what full-day kindergarten should look like in Barrington will meet for the first time this week.
The Barrington School Committee appointed the group last month, one of several recently established sub-committees formed to help facilitate on-going implementation of the district’s recently adopted strategic plan.
The full-day kindergarten sub-committee is expected to examine numerous aspects of the program such as potential staffing and facility needs.
The current school district budget proposal contains a $141,000 place-holder for a full-day program next year. Barrington Schools Director of Administration and Finance Ron Tarro said this figure equates to 2.5 full-time equivalent teacher positions at the second or third salary step.
The figure is significantly lower than the estimate presented last year — $1,123,000. That figure included about $361,000 in salary costs for three certified top step employees and three non-certified staff members along with about $12,000 for operating costs and $750,000 for the construction of three classrooms.
Mr. Tarro said the classroom additions were based on enrollment and class size projections at that time though the current figures reflect declining student enrollment numbers.
Last week, the Portsmouth School Committee became the newest Rhode Island school district to authorize a full-day kindergarten program.
Portsmouth Schools Superintendent Lynn Krizic said new common core state standards almost require a full-day program, a sentiment echoed by local education officials in recent weeks.
Portsmouth estimated the program will cost about $150,000 to cover new staff, materials and technology. This figure also accounts for a projected savings in transportation costs of $147,000, slated to stem from eliminating mid-day bus runs.
In Barrington, however, Mr. Tarro said it might be too early to start nailing down the exact costs of a local full-day program.
He said the place-holder projection could swing up or down depending on what the full-day kindergarten sub-committee proposes and any effects on transportation, classroom materials or staffing among other areas.
The sub-committee’s first meeting is Thursday, April 4 at 4 p.m. It will be held inside the Barrington High School library.