Lyndeborough mulls full-time kindergarten

LYNDEBOROUGH – The question of full-time kindergarten has again come up for discussion at the Cooperative School Board. During a work session with the budget committee Jan. 6, Board Chairman Geoff Brock said they were considering two options, one or both will be on the school district warrant in March. In addition to thoughts from the budget committee, the board wants input from residents.

In September, kindergarten for Wilton and Lyndeborough will be at the Central School.

Option one would continue the present half-day program with an “extended program” for the rest of the day. The program would have a certified teacher but would not offer the full kindergarten program.

“Like day care, only better,” Brock said.

Parents using the program would pay the costs, suggested at $225 per month. “So we can break even,” he said.

Option two would provide a full day of regular programming at taxpayer expense.

The school board fully supports kindergarten, Brock said, “but where both parents have full time jobs, or there is a single parent, the half-day program doesn’t work.”

He noted that while the state says kindergarten has to be offered, no one has to attend. “We believe kindergarten provides the best start,” and this might encourage more parents to send their children.

Lyndeborough currently has no after school options in town. In Wilton there are programs available including a nearby day care and a Boys and Girls Club program.

Asked about transportation, Brock said a bus could be available morning and afternoon, but a mid-day bus was cost prohibitive. If the children were brought to Wilton at the close of school, they could take part in Wilton programs.

Other questions asked of the budget committee included the need for a district truck.

“We don’t think it’s fair to ask employees to use their vehicles,” Brock said.

The truck may be used to supplement snow plowing provided by the two towns, especially if it is snowing while school is in session.

Voters will also be asked to set up a capital reserve fund for future work on the schools, including a new roof on the original high school building.

“Our buildings are OK now,” Brock said, “so we can plan ahead.”

The school board and the district support staff have ratified a new contract, which will be on the warrant.

The board is seeking permission to accept and use any unanticipated gifts or grants that may be offered. At present, if the grant exceeds the budget line, it cannot be accepted.

The board will also ask voters to form a committee to propose a name for the new combined elementary school which will open in September.

Budget Committee Chairman Don Davidson said his group will discuss the ideas and get back to the school board next week.

The district public budget hearing is at 7 p.m., Feb. 5, at the high school. The next combined meeting will be at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 13, in the high school media room.