Full-day kindergarten, retaining sixth grade in elementary schools back before MUSD board
The questions of whether to eliminate full-day kindergarten and retain sixth grade in the elementary schools are once again before the Maricopa Unified School District governing board.
Two weeks ago, board members discussed the issues but asked staff to come back this week with additional information. The board meets 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The two moves come at a time when the district is facing a $1 million budget shortfall for the 2013-2014 school year. The current budget is $31.6 million.
Reducing full-day kindergarten to half-day would save 10 teaching positions. One half of the day would be free, and the board is considering providing a tuition-based half-day for $130 a month.
Board member Scott Bartle asked staff to some back with additional information on student achievement in half-day versus full-day kindergarten and figures on what other districts charge for tuition.
Superintendent Steve Chestnut urged the board to act relatively quickly.
“It’s not that I want to do any of these things,” he said at the Feb. 13 board meeting. “But we need to take action.”
He said parents generally have been in favor of retaining sixth grade in the elementary schools: “There’s a good level of satisfaction with our parents and our elementary schools.”
If sixth-graders are retained in elementary school, a middle school likely would be closed to help combat the budget deficit. Chestnut said focusing on one middle school could improve it academically.
Eventually the second middle school would need to be reopened, he said.
“We can do a better job at being the school of choice,” Chestnut said.
School board president Torri Anderson said she wanted more information before making a decision.
“If we had to close a school, what is the impact of that at all levels?” she asked.
Board member Patti Coutre said she was concerned moving sixth-graders back to elementary school could create bigger class size.
Anderson pointed out that the middle schools originally were created because the elementary schools were too full.For more information on these agenda items and others click here to get to the meeting of your choice, then click on “print agenda” and then go to “detailed agenda.”
The board meets in the District Office Administration Building, 44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.