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Mason School budget proposes full-day kindergarten



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, January 29, 2018

The Mason School District has a short warrant again this year, with only the budget and two capital reserve requests to put before the voters.

The budget is proposed this year at $3.17 million, an increase of less than 1 percent from last year’s budget of $3.11 million. Included in that budget is a move from half-day to full-day kindergarten.

School Superintendent and Mason Elementary School Principal Kristen Kivela said in an interview Friday that because the district is coming into a year with a smaller number of students being tuitioned to Milford for middle and high school services, in addition to a recent bill increasing the funding per student for kindergarten from the state, it seemed like a good year to implement full-day kindergarten, when it would have a minimal impact on the budget.

“We’re in favor of it, as long as it’s developmentally appropriate,” said Kivela. “We will still balance academics with play and social skills that are so important for that age group, but a longer day allows us to give more time to those academics.”

The full-day program will allow kindergartners to explore more science and social studies, which are difficult to fit into the half-day program currently, said Kivela. And if there are parents who feel strongly that their child is not ready for a full school day, the district is willing to work with them on that.

“It’s a kid by kid basis. If a parent feels their child isn’t ready for a full-day program, something could be worked out there, perhaps starting the year with a half-day and eventually moving to full-time, but I think that most parents will take advantage of it,” she said.

In addition to the budget, the district is requesting $20,000 to be added to the existing educating educationally disabled children capital reserve fund. The fund is used if a student with special needs is transferred into the district and needs services not provided for in the budget already.

The district is also asking for $5,000 for the school buildings and grounds maintenance reserve fund.

Both the capital reserve requests would be taken from the 2018 unreserved fund balance – meaning the previous year’s budget surplus – and not from taxation.

The School Board unanimously supported all articles this year.

The Mason School District will hold it’s deliberative session on Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. During deliberative session, residents will hear explanation and debate of the three monetary articles on the warrant, and have the power to amend them. A snow date for the deliberative session is Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.

Voters will take a final vote on all articles by ballot on March 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mason Town Hall. In addition to warrant articles, voters will also cast ballots for a school board member for three years and a school district treasurer for two years. 

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.