As the last year of full-day kindergarten winds down in Huntington, parents and agencies are continuing to seek programs to fill their children's school day when September arrives.
Eileen Knauer, executive director of the , said the Y has one classroom available to accommodate 30 children total, 15 in each half-day session. "It's not cost effective. It's better to get a site to house four or five classes," she said. The Y is "working on a couple of leads but we're waiting to see," she said. I'm getting calls every day" from parents seeking class space. She said that a lottery would most likely determine enrollment in the Y class.
But finding a class and getting there could be complicated by state law and district issues involving transportation. On April 11, the Huntington school board adopted the 2011-2012 budget that reduces kindergarten to a half-day schedule. State law establishes April 1 as the last day for parents requesting district-supplied transportation to private or parochial schools. So parents who are trying to shift their children out of public school to full-day programs in non-public schools may have missed the opportunity to obtain transportation. Parents who move into the district have 30 days after establishing residency to request busing.
In response to a question, school superintendent John Finello said, "Since any request of this nature would be made after April 1, we would do a case by case review looking at the circumstances of each case and make a decision whether or not to grant an exception to the April 1 deadline."
He did not say what that determination would be based on.
The reduction in kindergarten hours is among several cutbacks in the proposed $109-million budget. On Monday, the trustees rejected an idea for the Y and Family Service League to offer kindergarten enrichment classes at Jack Abrams school, which the district stopped using for classes last summer because of concerns about crime in the neighborhood. They did approve a plan to host a town summer camp on the grounds.
Meanwhile, the school board approved a two-year extension of its contract with Huntington Coach Corp. The district said "contract prices will increase by one-half of the rise in the applicable Consumer Price Index in the first year of the new contract. Prices will increase by the full CPI in the second year" of the contract.
The school board's proposed budget for 2011-2012 sets aside $8,821,776 for contract transportation.
Voters will cast ballots Tuesday on the budget and the choice of two trustees to fill spots on the school board.