Continuing the debate |

Continuing the debate

All-day kindergarten, school security grant discussion continues

Mike McCollum

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs School Board meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th St.

Cost: Free

Steamboat Springs School Board agenda

6:30 p.m. Call to Order

6:31 p.m. Executive Session

7:05 p.m. Public and Staff Comment

7:25 p.m. Facilities Update

7:35 p.m. Response to Auditor's Recommendations

7:50 p.m. All-day kindergarten policy implications review

8:05 p.m. Security in School policy implications review

8:20 p.m. Monitoring report

8:35 p.m. Policy discussion

9:05 p.m. Debrief

9:10 p.m. Plan for future meetings

9:20 p.m. Reconvene to Executive Session, if necessary

9:50 p.m. Adjourn

— At tonight’s meeting, the Steamboat Springs School Board will continue a years-long discussion about implementing all-day kindergarten. The discussion won’t result in board action.

“It’s been a 16-year conversation. I think it’s coming down the pike, but whether it will take another 10 years, I hope not,” board member Denise Connelly said. “If we go with this, we also have to look at what we are giving up and at what cost.”

Board members plan to request reports about the existing half-day kindergarten program to determine whether there is a need for an all-day program.

“The point is to determine whether we have a problem with kindergarten kids to determine if they should be achieving at a higher rate,” said School Board member Laura Anderson, who indicated Friday that an all-day program may be delayed until the 2009-10 school year.

Connelly said today’s policy review session would be another opportunity to ask the district’s all-day kindergarten committee to gather more information about the needs and costs associated with all-day kindergarten.

“We want to see what the reasons are for doing this,” she said.

“We need to find research that shows it really advances achievement, and if so, then it is something we should really be interested in.”

Connelly and board member John DeVincentis have argued in favor of implementing all-day kindergarten for the 2008-09 school year if the facilities at Soda Creek Elementary School – which is under construction – are ready.

Board member Lisa Brown said she would like more information about the program before she can endorse it.

“I’m looking for more – like what the costs to the district would be, how many kids it would be affecting, what the curriculum would look like, and what the expected results of having full-day kindergarten would be,” she said.

Secure Our Schools

Board members also will discuss how to spend a $533,000 federal “Secure Our Schools” grant.

The grant, which the school district is required to match, would boost security measures at all four schools in the district.

District officials have set aside $245,000, which was spent on 800 MHz radios and bi-directional antennas. But they are still trying to figure out how to match the other half of the grant.

Once raised, that money likely will be spent on security measures including electronic keycard access systems and internal and external school security cameras.

The School Board previously asked the Routt County Board of Commissioners for more than $250,000 to match the grant, but commissioners offered $10,000 to $20,000. The School Board also has asked for $250,000 from the Education Fund Board, which administers the city’s half-cent sales tax for education.

“We are still going to ask for information and options to be created from different groups so that we know where everybody stands on the spectrums between getting more security or focusing on privacy concerns,” Connelly said. “We want to be sure we know what are the most important things to the community.”

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