Kindergarten issue is still not clear

Wilton parents announce formation of Parents for Responsible Education   (PRE) to coordinate parent and community opposition to implementation of Full Day Kindergarten in Wilton. PRE’s position is the administration’s Full Day proposal understates the costs and overstates the benefits of ending the current Extended Day program. PRE believes the Full Day proposal not only puts kindergartners at risk, but taxpayers as well.

On Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, PRE sent the Board of Education a letter detailing nine concerns with the administration’s Full Day proposal. PRE has asked the Board of Education (BOE) to withdraw the Full Day proposal and maintain the current Extended Day program until these discrepancies, as well as emerging budget discrepancies, are addressed.

PRE was formed when individual parents realized the administration intended to continue with the Full Day Kindergarten proposal without addressing the problems parents have identified.

Wilton’s current Extended Day program has been in place for over 25 years. By contrast PRE notes parents have had less than 30 days to perform due diligence on a proposal to implement Full Day Kindergarten in August 2013.

In the past two weeks the administration has issued three different Full Day schedules detailing how kindergartners will be spending 8 1/2 more hours in class each week. Each schedule has added more staff resources than the original proposal. And each new proposal requires more staff resources than the current Extended Day program. While parents are encouraged the administration is addressing specific flaws in their original proposal, PRE is concerned the original proposal was used as the basis for the Board of Education’s budget which is being reviewed by the Board of Finance.

PRE believes the most current Full Day plan, which is still not final, will cost more than the budget proposal and neither the Board of Education nor the Board of Finance has been given an updated budget. PRE believes retaining the current Extended Day program will be less costly for taxpayers.

At the core of PRE are 10 parents. Without any formal organization over the past month they have already secured over 120 signatures to an online petition to retain the current Extended Day kindergarten proposal (ipetitions.com/petition/stop-full-day-kindergarten-keep-extended-day/).

PRE believes as more parents and taxpayers learn the facts about the Full Day proposal, there will be more opposition. Wilton residents who support PRE’s effort to keep the current Extended Day program are encouraged to sign the petition or contact PRE at PREWilton@live.com.