All-day kindergarten appears safe in East Providence.
The Budget Commission accepted a recommendation on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 14, from Interim Superintendent John DeGoes to retain all-day kindergarten. It appeared that it might be on the chopping block.
The program was saved despite a potential net savings of approximately $259,000 “if we do away with all-day K,” said DeGoes, citing an analysis of revenues and expenses.
“The first step is the most important step,” he said of kindergarten. “It prepares kids for the rest of their lives.”
The cost of the savings in East Providence, said DeGoes, would be offset by the costs of not having these kids ready down the road.
Many East Providence children would be behind before they get started, DeGoes said, because their parents can’t provide certain necessities.
“Many would start considerably behind the starting line,” he said. “We need to give these kids a fighting chance.”
There would also be an impact on all students, said Mayor James Briden, a member of the Budget Commission.
“More resources would have to be devoted in the future to the kids who are struggling,” said Briden.
DeGoes said: “Let’s keep it and not take a step backward.”
He also said he believes that more state and federal money will be forthcoming because of the value seen in all-day kindergarten at those levels.
“It makes sense to keep the program,” DeGoes said.
There was almost no discussion from other Budget Commission members. They agreed with the superintendent’s recommendation to keep all-day kindergarten in the school budget.