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Published: Wednesday, 3/9/2005

Swanton: Kindergarten moves to all day, every day


SWANTON - All-day, every-day kindergarten will be offered starting in the fall in the Swanton Local School District.

Charles Horvath, Crestwood Elementary School principal, said that the program will provide students with more opportunities to grow and develop as they get ready for first grade, and they'll have more time to interact with their peers and teachers.

With the financial condition of the district, officials decided to move ahead with implementing the full-time program, said Superintendent Robin Rayfield.

Although the principal has been a proponent of the fulltime program for a while, "we weren't in the position" to make the transition earlier because of the district's financial difficulties, he said. "I'm thankful for the levy," he said.

Parent reaction has been positive so far, he said.

Teachers will have additional time to stress the components in the state curriculum model, said Mr. Horvath who has been a proponent of the switch from part-time to full-time kindergarten.

It is the first time that Swanton has offered full-time kindergarten. Many other districts in the area have switched to full-time kindergarten with positive results.

Registration for the 2005-06 kindergarten classes will be 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 3 p.m. April 4 to April 8 at Crestwood.

Custodial parents can register children who will be 5 years old by Oct. 1. Documents required to register students are:

● proof of birth;

●Social Security card;

●immunization records;

●custody papers or foster placement agreement;

w●proof of residency in Swanton.

Registration packets can be picked up at Park School, but completed forms must be returned to Crestwood.

There are three sections of kindergartners now, but officials anticipate four sections for the coming school year. Plans call for adding 2 1/2 full-time equivalent teachers, up from 1 1/2 now, said Mr. Rayfield, noting that staff will cover the additional class time without hiring new teachers.

Because the state only requires a half-time kindergarten program, the district will pick up the cost for the additional class time, but Mr. Rayfield said an increase in number of kindergartners should offset some of the additional costs.

"We definitely expect an increase in enrollment," he said. More parents in the Swanton area might be interested in enrolling their children in the district now that kindergarten is a full-time program, officials said.

Parents who want to learn more about the program can contact the superintendent.

Voters in the Swanton district last fall approved the renewal of a 4.34-mill, three-year emergency operating levy that officials described as key to the district's financial stability. The levy will generate $825,000 annually for the district, which is in portions of Fulton and Lucas counties.

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