Full-day pre-K eyed for district

GLOVERSVILLE – Gloversville Enlarged School District Superintendent Michael Vanyo recently notified the Board of Education the district may implement a full-day prekindergarten program for more than 60 students next school year.

He said the program would help prepare the children for kindergarten, making it easier for them to learn.

“We believe early education is one of the key things that we have to look at with our programs,” Vanyo said. “Some of our kindergarten students are at different levels. Some can read well, while others are just getting adjusted socially. If they have that extra time, we can really make a big difference for their career in school.”

Vanyo said he will have a formal resolution on the full-day pre-K plan for the board to consider at its next meeting in June.

The state budget for 2014-15 allocates $340 million for universal pre-K during each of the next two years. About $300 million will go to New York City and $40 million to the rest of the state.

Vanyo said the district currently has three full-time pre-K teachers. The district plans to apply for a state grant and hire or transfer an additional teacher to change the current program from half-day to full-day, he said.

“We feel we could do this with or without the grant,” Vanyo said. “We won’t know if we got the grant until the end of July, but we should move the process forward and offset the cost if we need to later.”

If necessary, he said, the district will be able to offset any of the associated cost of pre-K by transferring other funds within the budget.

Each of the programs would have 17 students participate for a combined total of 68 students, who would be randomly selected in a lottery drawing, Vanyo said.

“[The students] would be in the neighborhood school [near] where they live,” Vanyo said. “It would run on the same schedule as our other [kindergarten] through [fifth-grade] programs, and if there are more than 17 students interested, we would do a lottery.”

He said the district has been offering half-day pre-K programs for a number of years in the district. Some of the students come in the morning, and another class attends in the afternoon.

He also said local private and federal agencies provide Head Start programs for younger students in the district.

“Our numbers for the half-day universal pre-K that we have in the district have been decreasing,” Vanyo said. “One of the reasons we believe is because with half-day, it’s hard for parents to find daycare, and also the lack of transportation.”

Boulevard Principal Thomas Komp said during the meeting he also thinks the pool of potential pre-K students has declined.