Ohio moves to scrap all-day kindergarten
Posted on 1.19.11
By Laura A. Bischoff and Margo Rutledge Kissell, Staff Writers
Updated 10:17 PM Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Some of former Gov. Ted Strickland’s education reforms appear to be following him out the door.
State Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, plans to introduce a bill that would scrap all-day kindergarten and the requirement that districts have smaller class sizes for kindergarten through third grade.
In just a few days, 30 Republican lawmakers in the 99-member House signed up to co-sponsor Gardner’s bill, a strong indicator of the bill’s support.
The all-day kindergarten requirement was pitched as a way to provide students with a solid foundation that would keep them from falling behind in the early grades. But it was a mandate without funds attached. Thirty area districts were granted a one-year waiver for this school year, giving administrators time to deal with cost and space issues before they are forced to comply.
Now they may not have to. Gardner hopes to pass the bill within six weeks to give districts lead time for preparing for the upcoming academic year. Schools are already registering kindergartners and planning for classroom space needs.
It’s still unclear how this could affect plans in the Northmont City Schools, where officials are considering placing a bond issue on the November ballot to help the district overcome its biggest barrier to offering all-day kindergarten: space. Some of the funding would go toward building a new early childhood development center.
Northmont Superintendent Sarah Zatik said the district still may opt to move ahead with those plans even if the state requirement goes away. “The sad thing is, it’s good for kids,” she said. “From that standpoint, I think it’s a step backward.”
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