TV School Board nixes compacted schedule, hears Kindergarten concerns

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MARCH 19, 2013 - The Twin Valley School Board gave a solid ‘no’ to a controversial compacting schedule proposal at last night’s monthly board meeting at Twin Valley High School. Despite the wet and freezing conditions outside, it was standing room only inside at the board meeting, and an eruption of applause occurred following the unanimous vote against the compacted scheduling proposal – one which would have reduced the districts $1.2 million budget shortfall by $800K through the elimination of six high school and six middle school teaching positions in the district.

With the compacted schedule getting the thumbs down, the district must now look for other ways to trim back its $52 million dollar budget for 2013-14. Many of those in attendance also came to voice their concerns over another suggestion that has been discussed as a means to get the budget back into the black – reducing the Kindergarten program at the district from full day down to a half day.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, attendee Melissa Horst, a parent with children in Honey Brook Elementary, expressed her concerns over the education level of her daughter, who had been though the full-day Kindergarten program, would compare to that of her son, whose Kindergarten experience is upcoming.

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“Kindergarten is the foundation of the next twelve years, possibly more, that are children are going to have to experience academics. If Kindergarten already has so much information to pack in to a full day program per year, how is it that you expect them to achieve the same quality of education in three hours of school? I don’t feel that it is acceptable or appropriate that my second child does not receive the same opportunities to succeed that our first child had.”

Toni Toole, one of three Speech Language Pathologists who works at the district and the mother of three children who had participated in full day Kindergarten, read the following from a prepared statement:

“There are components for the full day (Kindergarten) schedule that have such incredible value in developing our students’ social skills necessary to interact with peers, and teachers and staff… …The learning centers offered in our full day kindergarten are vital to education because they allow for substantial periods of time for these children to engage in learning activities… …We are expecting an extraordinary amount of skill when our children enter first grade. Without the strong foundation of pre-reading and language our students will not be able to access all they can to be successful learners.”

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What are your thoughts on ways which the school board can make cuts to make the budget work? Should Kindergarten go to a half-day? If not, what other options should the school board take into consideration? Post your thoughts in the comments section below, on our Facebook page’s wall, or send an email to Editor@TriCountyRecord.com with the subject heading ‘TVSD Budget’.