Budget to include funding for all-day kindergarten - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Budget to include funding for all-day kindergarten

PINE ISLAND, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The bill passed by the state Senate last month provides billions of dollars to school districts throughout the state for educational programs, including all-day kindergarten.

"I am a strong proponent for the bill passing," said Jessica Cabeen, principal of Woodson Kindergarten Center in Austin.

The school has offered full-day Kindergarten since 2005.

"I feel it's extremely important for foundation and equality across the state of Minnesota that everyone have access to all day everyday kindergarten," Cabeen said.

It's a sentiment shared among teachers as well and some say an all-day program allows them to give more time to the individual needs of students.

"We need to have those times with the kids to establish those routines and get those skills in and if you had to do it in a small amount of time it would be really challenging," said Sarah Heller, kindergarten teacher at Woodson Kindergarten Center.

The bill includes full funding for all day, everyday, kindergarten throughout the state.  That's different than the current system where some districts charge a fee to parents for more than half-day kindergarten.

Teacher Liz Schreiber said in the six years she's been an all-day kindergarten teacher at Pine Island Elementary School, her students have benefited from the extended school day, especially in reading.

"From the beginning of the year until now, just looking at these guys, it's just phenomenal to see where they started," Schreiber said.

The budget Minnesota lawmakers expect to pass will offer full-reimbursement to any district that chooses to offer full-day kindergarten.

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