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Braintree full-day kindergarten expansion waiting on registration numbers

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 15, 2012 03:14 PM

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Although 240 parents indicated an interest in full-day kindergarten, and almost 300 people came out to the information session about the topic, Braintree Public School officials still don’t know how many will sign up for the 180 slots in the newly created program.

Started last year, the current program has 60 students and is located at Braintree High School.

Yet with so much interest this year, the administration could be opening up full-day kindergarten classes at each of the district’s “home” elementary schools, doubling the number of students the program could take.

However, until the applications for the $3,000-a-year program come in, officials aren’t setting anything in stone.

“We’re not going to know whether demand exceeds capacity until the March 1 date when initial deposits are to be received. So we’ll have to wait until that time and then do our best to match people up with what it is they wanted, and hopefully most, if not everyone, will get what they want. But at this point it’s too soon to say,” said Superintendent Peter Kurzberg.

Kurzberg said it would be a big step to expand programs into the elementary schools, especially after just one year as a pilot program at the high school.

In the meantime, to help allay fears, officials held an information night last week to answer parents' questions.

In addition to discussing how the lottery system would work and payment structures, officials also addressed transportation and the limits of the current system.

Although the cost may be high for some parents, it was not a subject brought up in the meeting, Kurzberg said.

Among the frequently asked questions regarding full-day kindergarten are:

1. What happens to my deposit and first month’s payment if I move between now and the start of school?
If your slot can be filled with someone from the waiting list, your deposit and first month’s payment will be returned.

2. What can be offered at the high school to full-day kindergarten students who need before-school care?
Right now, there is no before-school care for students who attend full-day kindergarten at the High School.

3. What if my child is near the top of the lottery list and I am more interested in a home school? Can I go to the home school?
If the high school slots are filled and there is enough interest in the home school, you would have the opportunity to go to your home school.

4. How do I get into a home school?
It will depend on how many students go the high school program and where you fall in the lottery.

5. Can I lose my spot if I give up the full-day kindergarten at the high school and wait for the home school spot?
We are going to try and determine who is able to go to the high school and who is able to go to their home school at the same time. This way, no one will be waiting to see what they may be eligible for unless they are still on a waiting list and haven’t been chosen for either the high school or the home school.

6. Will there be transportation or breakfast provided at the Braintree High School full-day kindergarten?
At the present time, there is no transportation or breakfast provided at the high school.

7. Why does the high school have to be filled first?
In order to ensure that there is enough room at the home school for their half-day kindergarten programs, students have to be placed at the high school first. Otherwise, there could be exceptionally large class sizes for the half-day kindergarten classes in the home school.

8. What will the process be to fill the high school?
Based upon the deposits that are received by March 1st, a determination will be made as to whether there is enough interest in both the High School and the Home School program. Depending upon where you fall in the lottery, will determine whether you will be able to attend your Home School or the High School.

9. Can the half-day sessions be moved to the high school to make room for additional full day kindergarten classes at home schools?
There would not be enough room at the High School to accommodate half-day sessions at the High School and additional transportation costs would be incurred by the school system.

10. When will parents know if there will be classes at home schools?
We are planning on letting everyone know of their status by March 15th.

11. Can we open another Braintree facility to create additional full-day kindergarten classes?
Right now, funding does not allow for the use of an additional facility in Braintree.

12. Due to MCAS results at our home school, will we be able to send my child to another FDK school?
MCAS results will not be available until August, so the question cannot be answered until that time.

13. When will I know if my child gets into a full-day kindergarten program?
You will know if your child is in the full day kindergarten program by March 15th.

14. What is the maximum number of students in a half-day or full-day kindergarten classroom?
We are using 20 as a guide, recognizing that there would be some fluctuation for students who move into the district or move out. Full-day kindergarten classrooms will be limited to 20.

15. What is the possibility for redistricting?
Right now, there are no plans to redistrict. However, we are in the process of undergoing a space needs study. Until we come up with a solution to address additional space for the schools, it is too soon to be thinking about redistricting. We have redistricted in the past so it is never a guarantee that people will stay in their current home school. We had a small redistrict in 2004 when we closed Monatiquot School and Eldridge Kindergarten Center and before that, in 1992, when we reopened the Hollis School.

16. If you are on the wait list and get in right before the start of school, are you responsible for a large payment immediately?
Yes. If you are on the waiting list and hope to participate at a later date, you should begin budgeting for the program so that if you are selected, you will be able to make payments.

17. Will I have to provide transportation to full\-day kindergarten at another home school?
Yes.

18. When will there be an open house at BHS for parents to see the classrooms?
Right now there are two opportunities to visit the facilities ~ on Monday, February 27th at 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday, February 28th at 7:00 p.m.

19. Will there be a reduction in tuition for a child who goes to another home school?
No.

20. If I send in my deposit and do not hear from the schools that my child has been chosen for a full day kindergarten spot, will I get my deposit back?
Yes.

21. If you are on low income, do you have to pay a deposit?
Yes. If you are eligible for Free/Reduced lunch, your deposit will be $150.

22. If I choose to go to a different full-day kindergarten at a school and a spot opens at my home school, will I be informed?
Yes. It will depend, however, if more students from your school have chosen a different school and where you were in the lottery.

23. Is there a late dismissal time for BHS full-day kindergarten?
Parents have until 3:15 p.m. to pick up their children if they have children at other elementary schools.

24. How will my child get IEP services?
Special Education services would be provided in the High School as well as the Home School, unless there are unique needs which require a different facility.

25. Are there options to pay the tuition in a ten-month payment plan?
Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a 10-month payment plan. Payments are due on a quarterly basis as follows:
March 1 (deposit) $ 300
April 1(1st Payment) $ 450
July 1 (2nd Payment) $ 750
October 1(3rd Payment) $ 750
January 15 (4th Payment) $ 750

26. How will I know if my deposit has been received?
You will receive an email confirming receipt of your deposit.

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