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Full-Day Kindergarten Doesn't Make BOE-Approved Budget

The education budget, which represents a 3.64% increase, will now head to the Canton Board of Finance.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
It's not the increase of the education budget that has some residents upset, it's the fact that full-day kindergarten didn't make it in there.

As approved Tuesday by the Canton Board of Education, the 2014-15 school budget comes in at $25,029,087.54 — $880,577.47 more than the current year, or 3.64% higher.

The BOE-approved budget is $266,446 less than what Superintendent Kevin Case had originally proposed, according to a spreadsheet detailing the BOE budget line-by-line.

The budget now makes it way to the Board of Finance, which is scheduled to discuss the BOE budget at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19, in the Canton Community Center. 

'Not Fair'

Canton currently offers half-day kindergarten at Cherry Brook Primary School, with an option for full-day at a cost of $3,500, offered to residents via a lottery. In 2012, 37 students were enrolled in the full-day option, with a total of 114 in the half-day program. That number was expected to rise.

At BOE meetings this year, some parents have expressed concern about the cost of the full-day option, and many have been advocating for the district to fund full-day kindergarten for all families at no additional cost, or at least reduce the cost of tuition. Three residents voiced concerns about the $3,500 tuition during the public forum portion of the Feb. 11 BOE meeting, according to minutes.

And on Tuesday, before the BOE approved the budget, parent Theresa Taylor cited the district's stance that it provides equal opportunities for all students, and offered this comment, according to a report by the Hartford Courant:

"Can you look at yourselves and say that this is fair and equitable? Because there is nothing fair and equitable about it." 

Case reiterated what has been the district's position throughout the tuition-based kindergarten program's life: financial assistance is available to families that need it.

According to The Courant, the district will be forming a committee of parents and educators to study full-day kindergarten.
Tracy Kriel March 07, 2014 at 10:36 AM
As parents of triplets who will be attending kindergarten in the Fall, we must also voice our displeasure about this decision. Personally, we chose to move to Canton for the highly rated public school system, which we are still proud of. For the $10,500.00 that we will be required to pay for our children to participate in the extended day Kindergarten, we could send our children to a private school. The US is a member of UNESCO, which includes in its list of Human Rights the right to a free primary education. Yes, financial aid is available IF you qualify. Exactly why should anyone have to justify or make public their income so that their children can attend public school??? Of the ~ 290 municipalities on the State of CT Grand List (http://www.ct.gov/opm/cwp/view.asp?a=2987&q=385976), Canton is ranked ~ 193 for its $26.91 Mill Rate, putting it slightly higher than the 50th percentile, far above towns like Putnam and Woodstock, which have cheaper tax rates and free full-day Kindergarten. Considering the high tax rate that we all pay, we cannot say that we are proud of this decision.
MARK BARCA March 07, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Canton will get to this....as a taxpayer with no kids,I don't want my taxes to go up so kids can go to all day kindergarten.....If you talk to some of the teachers...They feel MANY kids can't handle all day Kindergarten. The parents want to use it as a daycare. It's the same old thing...all about me...I have a solution....A temporary property tax....another words,If you have 1 kid you would pay 200 a month more in property tax JUST the yr your kids are in Kindergarten.....you have two kids 400.....you choose to have 3 or 4....600 etc......It than goes away....so its a burden only that yr like a user fee....and not on those who don't have kids.....thanks
Stephanie Carroll LaPointe March 08, 2014 at 12:07 PM
I am extremely disappointed by this decision. I am a teacher in a district that has full day K. As a teacher I cannot imagine how the first grade teachers in Canton are going to provide appropriate instruction to a group of students who will have had very different amounts of instruction in K. Every child is entitled to a FREE appropriate public education. Tell me ~ is it appropriate that half the kindergarten students get a full day of education while the other half do not? Is it appropriate to have a lottery where parents have to PAY to send their children for education that should be free? I will have a kindergartner starting in 2015. I sincerely hope that by that time Canton will wake up and become competitive with the districts surrounding them. They also have the responsibility to educate all students and prepare them to meet the rigorous standards of the common core. Putting students at a disadvantage from the get-go seems absurd.
Preston Ryzak March 08, 2014 at 12:57 PM
I would like to comment on the post the stated “I don't want my taxes to go up so kids can go to all day kindergarten.” I’ve been a volunteer fire fighter and EMS provider for many years in this town. Volunteering my time to help my fellow people in this community is what you do as being part of a community. In return it helps LOWER your town taxes, instead of having paid full day personnel or commercial services in our town. As a citizen we all pay our dues, for the better of the community, social security, medicaid ect… The standard of education in the United States has increased since you may have attended kindergarten. With common core introduced into our public schools ½ day programs are in the past. Over 90% of the state will be full day kindergarten by next year. IT”S NOT ABOUT DAY CARE it’s about the future of our Canton children. I suggest since you don’t have children you may want to do better research as to what is expected among our little ones and what teachers really do think... I do believe someone paid for your education.
MARK BARCA March 08, 2014 at 04:27 PM
I started my post...with "it will come."...it was not in the budget this yr, I voted yes for the track and new field....I give to just about every team that comes asking for donations.... So its not like I don't want a good kids programs ...I vote yes. Ask many moms and they are glad this yr is no go.....many kids are not ready.....I'm sure we will see it.....and I'll support it when its in the budget

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