Gilbert Schools Info: 1/25/2011 News Update

Board members appear to be motivated more by fears of declining enrollment than academic achievement when it comes to the debate on all-day vs. half-day Kindergarten. District Superintendent Dr. Dave Allison acknowledged the budget for next year currently has a $4.5M deficit. The additional spending to provide All-day Kindergarten totals $2.46 Million, over 50% of the current deficit yet GPS admnistration recommends keeping all-day K and finding the money elsewhere. No specific information was provided on where else the money would come from.

District officials acknowledge that these decisions are preliminary steps pending final budget numbers from the AZ state legislature, but the focus appears clear enough. Board member Shane Stapley asked the administration for facts and figures surrounding the academic benefit achieved by moving to all-day K. These requests have remained unanswered.

District decisions in this matter are focused more intently on the premise that because other school districts are funding all-day K for free, GPS must also do so or risk losing students to other districts and with it, the state funding that is based on student enrollment.

Two parents spoke out against the decision to keep all-day K. They were greatly outnumbered in a room full of parents, teachers, principals and other district staff who indicated overwhelming support through applause for established board members who supported the measure.

New board member Shane Stapley strongly opposed the idea for next year, given the district already knows it needs to cut about $4.5 million under Gov. Jan Brewer’s current budget plan. New member Staci Burk said she needed more information to make a decision.

To read the East Valley Tribune article regarding this meeting, go here:
http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/education/article_544c9218-2972-11e0-8c1b-001cc4c03286.html

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