Hayden offering free, all-day kindergarten | SteamboatToday.com

Hayden offering free, all-day kindergarten

— The Hayden School District is proudly enrolling boys and girls in free, all-day kindergarten.

The school year kicks off Aug. 25 with the school district offering the no-cost kindergarten for the first time.

“We haven’t found a way to pay for preschool services, but this is a big step in the right direction,” Superintendent Phil Kasper said. “We think it’s a big step forward. It’s a great investment.”

Kasper touted the importance of early childhood education.

“Doing full-day kindergarten makes a big difference,” school district board member Tammie Delaney said. “I think that’s a wise priority to make.”

Funding kindergarten is a challenge that many districts face, and it is an issue the Steamboat Springs School District is grappling with.

“It’s always been a funding issue with us,” Kasper said.

In the past, Hayden’s federal tax dollars were managed by the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES. This year, Hayden decided to administer those tax dollars themselves, which meant $20,000 additional dollars for the kindergarten program.

“This will pay for about 18 additional boys and girls,” Kasper said.

The school district anticipated 33 kindergartners would be enrolled this fall. Last week, about 30 students had been enrolled.

There will be two classrooms of kindergartners taught by Cortney Richards and Katie Hansen.

“We have some great educators,” Kasper said.

Kasper said getting students into the school district early could help parents build loyalty to the schools.

“I think it’s a good strategy,” Kasper said. “I don’t know if that’s the primary driver here. I think the driver is providing good services for early childhood education.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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