Camas schools will offer full-day kindergarten

Decision came after committee recommendation, research

The Camas School District will begin offering full-day kindergarten beginning in the fall.

On Monday evening, the School Board unanimously approved the recommendation made by the district’s kindergarten committee.

“We have been at the conversation for a long time,” said board member Doug Quinn. “I think there is reasonable evidence that we should move forward. We know this program is needed.”

Board member Casey O’Dell agreed.

“I support what the kindergarten (committee) has recommended,” he said. “We have a very healthy reserve fund and a fantastic community that supports us. However, I would be cautious about dropping it down too much. Let’s start something that gets us ahead of the state.”

The state is set to fund full-day kindergarten beginning in 2017. Schools with the highest rates of poverty are to be funded first, and once a school receives funding, the school is eligible in future school years, regardless of changes in the school’s percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch.

Board member Connie Hennessey noted that Washougal, Vancouver and Evergreen school districts all offer full-day kindergarten.

“It’s time to get our kids on board,” she said.

The implementation will cost an estimated $658,000, which will be used to cover additional staffing, instructional materials, furniture and building adjustments. It will be funded from district reserves.

“This is very exciting and I think it’s very much needed,” said Mary Tipton, board president.

Kindergarten registration begins in May. Parents can find information and materials at www.camas.wednet.edu/registration/.

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