The Carson City School District will offer full-day kindergarten at every elementary school in the fall, with the bulk of the funding coming from the Legislature.
“I think it’s something that will be of great benefit to the school district,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “The governor has been interested in looking for ways to improve education in our state. The Legislature was supportive of that.”
While Empire Elementary School has provided all-day kindergarten classes paid through state funds, other schools have offered the extended hours through a tuition-based program in which parents paid a fee.
In the fall, each school will offer a full-day class, paid through state funds, with no charge to parents. Parents who prefer the traditional half-day kindergarten will have that option as well.
Sue Keema, associate superintendent of education, said the majority of parents who have enrolled their children have selected the full-day offering.
Keema told school board members Tuesday that she, too, prefers longer classroom hours for kindergarten students.
“It’s exciting to be able to offer this academic opportunity,” she said. “But it’s not just about the academics. To be able to improve their emotional and social development is equally important. I predict student achievement will increase.”
The 2013 Legislature allocated $66,000 per full-time teacher to implement the program. The remainder will be paid through the school district’s general fund.
Anthony Turley, finance director for the Carson City School District, said it costs about $75,000 a year to employee a teacher — depending on education and experience — to pay for salaries and benefits.
The Legislature also mandated a ratio of 21 students per teacher.
Parents who have not registered may do so beginning Aug. 6 at their child’s school.
To accommodate the additional classrooms, Keema said, the district will hire seven new kindergarten teachers.
“It’s overwhelming that our families want all-day kindergarten,” Keema said. “I think this meets the need of many of our parents.”