Before the Hillsboro Board of Education approved to move forward with an all-day kindergarten program, board members and elementary school principal Evan Yoder discussed the specifics with parents in attendance.
Next school year, there will be two full-day classrooms and one half-day class. Yoder said 36 students are enrolled for full-day classes, seven for half, and seven student’s parents are still undecided.
“There’s still a few hurdles to cross, but I think we can make it happen,” Yoder said.
Yoder explained that teachers will run half-day classes differently — all subjects will be covered, but a shortened amount of learning compared to full-day classes is inevitable.
Morning classes will be extended 45 minutes, though, and if a child falls behind their parents will receive notification. Yoder said there are only 12 of 286 school districts statewide that still do not offer all-day kindergarten classes.
He compared this change to when the schools began offering breakfast.
“Some kids don’t get a good breakfast,” Yoder said. “We want to at least provide that option.”
Superintendent Steve Noble said the district will not request any more money to fund the transition, but will re-prioritize funding throughout the district to accommodate.
Because kindergarten-aged students do not fall under the state’s compulsory attendance laws requiring all children ages 7 to 18 be enrolled in public or private schooling, Noble said parents could pick their child up from school at any time, as long as the time is established and consistent. Noble also said the district would accommodate partial-day kindergartners indefinitely.
Board members voted 5-1 for all-day classes, with Joe Sechrist opposed.
Local option budget
Board members voted and signed to adopt a 1 percent increase in the districts local option budget resolution. Noble said the plan could generate up to $159,000 in additional operation budget authority for schools while keeping property taxes flat or lower than current rates.
Voting plan and method changing
After approval, the voting plan and method within the district will change. Before, the district was divided into three-member districts, and electors could vote in both the primary and general election for member positions in a district and at-large positions. The school district now is not divided into member districts and all board members will be elected at-large.
In other business:
- Board members approved budget cuts for fiscal year 2015, for a total of $392,298. Staff cuts totaled $254,748 and included positions already cut — activities director, mechanic, and district office administrative assistant — reductions to elementary and middle school counselor and art and music teacher positions, and future elimination of a second grade teacher, a high school at-risk aide, and high school kitchen assistant.
- Board members voted to sell 10 acres of land south of the city building to Grace Community Fellowship for $55,101. Rod Koons was opposed, because of business practices he said he felt were unethical.
- The board of education will write a letter of support for Tabor College’s planned arts center.
- Gowns and hoods were purchased for faculty members at the high school’s graduation May 17. All seven board members were also invited to congratulate graduates when they walk.