Ms. Teralyn Schnepf addressed the Gilbert Governing Board on May 7, 2013.
Distinguished Members of the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board:
Thank you for allowing me to share my proposal for the redistribution of District funds.
My husband and I have six children and are big supporters of ½ Day Kindergarten. We have been greatly disappointed by the shrinking number of ½ Day Kindergarten classes offered by the District since we moved to Gilbert 6 years ago. Our neighborhood school does not offer a ½ Day Kindergarten option, so we have enrolled our children in the ½ Day Programs where the District has provided them.
It is my understanding that before the state provided funding for Full Day Kindergarten, families who wanted Full Day Kindergarten needed to pay for the additional expense. Once state funding for Full Day Kindergarten was cut, my husband and I were hopeful that the District “Pay for Full Day” policy would be reinstated and we’d see more ½ Day classes offered at neighborhood schools. We were disappointed the District chose to keep the Full Day Program at the tax payer expense.
I understand that many parents may feel that their children need Full Day Kindergarten in order to help them succeed. Four of our children have attended ½ Day Kindergarten Programs and each one of them are outstanding students. Our children participate in the Accelerated Learning Program and are enrolled in Honors classes at our Junior High School, have been on the Honor Roll and Principal’s List, are Golden Scholars, and have been inducted into NJHS; all of which were accomplished without having Full Day Kindergarten.
I have been told that “the new Common Core Standards, Kindergarten curriculum has changed.” And “that new academic standards require more classroom time to achieve.” I believe this is a scare tactic being used to convince people that Full Day Kindergarten is essential to master the Common Core Standards. I have spoken to several parents whose children have been enrolled in the ½ Day Program since the new Common Core Standards have been implemented. Their children have not struggled or fallen behind in any way. They feel their children have been very successful in mastering the skills, concepts, and grade level standards taught to them thus negating the need for Full Day Kindergarten. Granted there may be, as with any grade level, a few students who are unable to master the Common Core Standards within the allotted ½ Day time, however, I believe this is the minority and will need to be addressed on a per student basis.
To summarize, it is my request the District no longer offer Full Day Kindergarten for free and that parents who wish to place their children in Full Day Kindergarten should pay for the expense. Please do not give in to the unnecessary demands to provide subsidized day care at the tax payers’ expense. This way the District can better use the limited tax payer money they receive on more crucial and beneficial programs in our District that will help Gilbert Public School students truly succeed.