Monday, March 15, 2004

School aims to help less fortunate



By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FINNEYTOWN - The Finneytown Board of Education is considering changing the district's all-day kindergarten program to make it more affordable for low-income families.

The district is considering eliminating its own all-day kindergarten program and contracting with Medallion School Partnerships to provide the second half of an all-day kindergarten program in 2004-05. Parents would have the option of half-day or all-day programs.

Finneytown has about 100 kindergarten students enrolled in half-day kindergarten and one all-day kindergarten class at Brent Elementary School. Parents of the 20 children enrolled in the all-day program pay $165 in tuition.

The district's curriculum committee last fall began talking about kindergarten curriculum, equity, delivery, finances and availability of space. A change would be prompted more by equity than finances, Finneytown Superintendent Sam Martin said.

"Medallion, because of the way they're set up, can offer a program to kids and parents on a sliding economic scale," he said. "The parents, if they meet certain requirements, can get government help on a sliding scale. It opens up the program for our lower income families.

Medallion also offers a half-day kindergarten program in the Indian Hill Exempted Village School District, to complement its half-day classes.

The kindergarten is just one program the school board is studying as it develops the district's Continuous Improvement Plan, Martin said.

"Kindergarten is going to get the lens on it now, and we're looking at providing a better situation for the kids, the best we can provide ... It's all driven by what's best for the kids."

Martin expects the board will make a decision in time for next school year.

If you go

The Finneytown Board of Education invites the public to discuss the future of all-day kindergarten at 6:30 p.m. today in the Finneytown High School media center, 8916 Fontainebleau Terrace.

E-mail ckranz@enquirer.com




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