Barrington school officials differ on when to add full-day kindergarten

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Just about everyone who attended the Barrington School Committee meeting Thursday night, May 9, supported the implementation of full-day kindergarten in Barrington, but not all people could agree on when the program should be added.

Barrington Schools Superintendent Mike Messore said his recommendation was to add full-day kindergarten next year, not this fall. School committee member Scott Fuller, who, like Mr. Messore, served on the full-day kindergarten subcommittee, agreed.

School committee members Patrick Guida and Paula Dominguez did not. They called for the program to be added right away, stating that further delay will only create greater gaps for students as they try to meet the newly instituted Common Core curriculum standards.

Since the school committee had not planned to vote on the issue, Mr. Guida did the next best thing. He reminded the audience full of local parents that any amendment to add the funding necessary for full-day kindergarten needed to be filed by next Wednesday. The committee on appropriations is recommending a $900,000 increase for the school budget this year, while school officials said Thursday night that they would need $1,690,000 to implement full-day kindergarten, make the technology improvements requested, and fill the other needs of the district.

A handful of parents spoke in support of adding full-day kindergarten this fall. Ivy Rollins Milliken brought forth a petition calling for all-day kindergarten this fall. The petition included nearly 300 signatures, despite the fact that it was created only two days ago.

Other parents, like Tricia Adams, pleaded with school officials to bring the program to Barrington sooner rather than later. Ms. Adams has a son who will be entering kindergarten in the fall.

"I don't want my son behind the curve because we didn't" implement full-day kindergarten this year, she said.

The school committee will meet again next Thursday. The deadline to file a financial amendment to the budget is Wednesday, May 15 at 4 p.m. Amendments should be filed at the town clerk's office. They will be read and voted on at the May 22 financial town meeting, which will be held in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m.

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To view and sign the petition in support of the implementation of all day kindergarten in Barrington for the 2013-2014 school year, go to:

https://www.change.org/petitions/support-full-day-kindergarten-in-barrington-ri

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