Back in 1976 Rod Stewart had a No. 1 hit with a song called, “Tonight’s the Night.”
Well, for all the people that have supported the implementation of full day kindergarten in Cheshire, Tuesday (April 8) IS the night. At our 7:30pm meeting the Town Council will vote on a budget for fiscal year 2014-15, one that will decide the funding for the Board of Education and will determine whether or not full day kindergarten will start in Cheshire this fall.
This has been a lengthy process, which started back in November 2012 with a feasibility study committee looking at the possibility of FDK. It was recommended by the Board of Education Curriculum Committee and approved by the full Board to include the funding in the Superintendant’s budget. Dr. Florio presented his budget in January, which was sent to the Town Council by the BOE. Town Manager Michael Milone included it in his budget recommendation and here we are.
I have supported full day kindergarten since the beginning and I believe it is the right thing to do. Dr. Florio had asked for $856,000 to implement FDK this coming school year (2014-15). On my recommendation, we moved some start up costs to capital expense, which took $255,000 out of the operating budget. Next, along with my colleagues Patti Flynn-Harris, Liz Linehan and Rob Oris, we met with the Superintendant to pare one teacher and one instructional assistant from the mix, which was a savings of $100K. The cost of $500K remained for full day kindergarten to become a reality.
Many people have worked long and hard on this and there has been a groundswell of support for it. I want to thank the residents who backed this, the Board of Education, Dr. Florio, the administration, Ann Donnery (Darcey Principal) and her staff for all their support and efforts.
Lynn Glynn, a Darcey teacher, described it best when she made an analogy during the Education budget workshop. She talked about Connecticut and how 90% of the State offered FDK and she talked about the Cheshire children and how vital this was to their development. She went on to ask what we would do if we had a crack in the foundation of our home, illustrating the flaw in our early childhood education.
It’s time for us to repair that crack and make the proper investment in our young people’s future. All that’s left now is the Town Council vote and that brings us back to Rod Stewart.