K-Plus coming to all Bedford elementary schools
K-Plus, which started as a pilot program at Memorial Elementary last year, comes at a monthly cost of $500.
Kindergarteners can spend the full day at school, coming and going with the rest of the elementary school kids.
Free of charge to parents, the district has run its kindergarten program as a half day, either in the afternoon or morning depending on availability.
Assistant Superintendent Chip McGee said K-Plus allows flexibility for busy parents.
“For a lot of families, just a half day didn’t work in terms of parents being available to look after their kids.”
A kid’s readiness is also a key factor, he said.
“There’s a lot of kindergartners who are ready for doing stuff all day, not just the two hours and 40 minutes of the half-day program.”
In response to a school board that has vowed to create no new programs given the economic circumstances, McGee said the program comes at no additional cost to the taxpayers,
“(K-Plus) we proposed because we would only run it if it was budget neutral, and we also thought there was a potential not for a ton of money, but making a little bit of money for the district depending on how many kids signed up.”
Participants can take the bus to and from school.
Each school will have two paraprofessionals to lead the children through “enrichment activities and structured play,” McGee said. “It just keeps them engaged and busy and excited about school in a good way.”
During the pilot period at Memorial last year, all 20 seats were filled, bringing as much as $30,000 in revenue to the district.
“This year we decided, if we get 10 kids (per school) it’s a break-even proposition,” McGee said. “So we put it out there and we have 47 kids that are part of K-Plus, between the three schools this year, which is great.”
With 17 kids over the minimum 30 already signed up, the district could be looking at a revenue generator of $85,000, which McGee said would go toward relieving the tax burden.
Asked if K-Plus participants have an advantage over their peers, McGee said the extra time spent at school is not academic in nature.
“It’s for what we call social and emotional development,” he said. “They play and do crafts and do art. They have a meal together – all of which are nice things, but it’s not our reading program, it’s not our math program, we don’t have a certified teacher with them.”
For more information on the K-Plus program and how to sign up, visit bit.ly/PimRDy.
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