School board postpones decision on 4-year-old kindergartenOn Jan. 17 the River Falls Board of Education postponed a decision on 4-year-old kindergarten/preschool until state funding for 2011-2013 biennium is known.
On Jan. 17 the River Falls Board of Education postponed a decision on 4-year-old kindergarten/preschool until state funding for 2011-2013 biennium is known.
Based on school funding and additional research and information, the board will continue to discuss possible implementation for fall 2012. But for the 2011-2012 school year, there will be no 4K program in River Falls.
According to Jackie Steinhoff, the school district’s director of Student Services: “Our district’s strategic plan calls us to explore this concept. It will depend on future funding that the state provides, which is unknown at this time.”
Steinhoff offered some current statistics and listed benefits of a 4K program.
There are over 41,000 children in Wisconsin who take part in 4K programs. As of Dec.1, 2010, 85% of the state’s school districts offer 4K programming.
Research on 4K states 4-year-olds enrolled in 4K programs:
- Are less likely to experience grade retention or require special education services.
- Are more likely to exhibit appropriate school behaviors.
- Have higher test scores and greater academic achievement.
Those benefits also result in cost savings for taxpayers.
Steinhoff said the district will move forward to address the details about 4K, including coordinating curriculum, and overall operations.
At this point, a committee studying that has agreed that 4K, if offered in River Falls, would be a community-based program housed in existing preschools and daycares, not in school district buildings.
More information will be shared with parents and the community as answers are known.
“We’re waiting for answers, but also still working to find answers to give to the board so they can make the best decision for our community,” Steinhoff said.