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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Litchfield resident, Chris Pascucci stands up and walks away after addressing the Litchfield School Board, Wednesday evening. Pascucci was the only person who showed up at the Litchfield School Board meetinto talk about whether public kindergarten should be expanded from half-day to full-day.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Litchfield resident, Chris Pascucci addresses the Litchfield School Board, Wednesday evening. Pascucci was the only person who showed up at the Litchfield School Board meeting on Tuesday night to talk about whether public kindergarten should be expanded from half-day to full-day. $50,000 would expand the program for 16 students, and because of an increase in state aid it might actually make money. The meeting was still going on a press time. For a full story about the hearing, see www.NashuaTelegraph.com or Friday's Telegraph.

  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris

    Bo Schlickter, principal of Griffin Memorial School in Litchfield, talks with the Litchfield School Board, Wednesday evening during a meeting at Campbell High School. Schlickter was on hand to talk about whether public kindergarten should be expanded from half-day to full-day. $50,000 would expand the program for 16 students, and because of an increase in state aid it might actually make money. The meeting was still going on a press time. For a full story about the hearing, see www.NashuaTelegraph.com or Friday's Telegraph.
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Expansion of kindergarten stalls

LITCHFIELD – An expansion of public kindergarten will go back to the drawing board.

The School Board voted Wednesday to not place on next month’s ballot the proposal of expanding half-day kindergarten to a full-day program for 16 students.

The vote comes several weeks after the town-school Budget Committee rescinded the measure from the budget. Committee members disliked how the measure appeared as a line-item expenditure and not as a stand-alone warrant article item.

Those committee members, a resident and School Board member Jason Guerrette argued that by tucking the measure into the budget, voters would not have a complete review of the proposal.

The board made its decision Wednesday after hearing from the principal of Griffin Memorial School, where the current kindergarten program exists.

Principal Martin “Bo” Schlichter told the board that although expanding kindergarten hours would be advantageous to the developing learning skills of participating students, he had reservations about starting the program without having certain concerns addressed.

Schlichter and his staff had small concerns, but those “little things add up,” he said. He suggested that the board instead study the idea further and revisit it next year.

Board member Cindy Couture agreed that studying the feasibility of a full-day program would be beneficial, but she disagreed with Guerrette that it would be an expansion of services. Rather, generating revenue was the purpose of placing the measure into the operating budget as a line item, she said.

The cost of starting the program is $50,586. But tuition would net $52,000 and incremental state education aid would pull in $27,600, meaning the program would generate $79,600 in revenue, district business administrator Steve Martin said.

Couture and fellow board member Mary Prindle said they would have again approved moving the proposal forward but hearing Schlichter changed their minds.

Guerrette contended the proposal amounted to an expansion of services, and he regretted his vote in December allowing the idea to be a line-item expenditure.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Guerrette echoed the budget committee’s previous remarks that several years ago, voters approved a measure that stated any non-government-mandated expansion of a program would have to be proposed as a warrant article.

Resident Chris Pascucci told board members he was disappointed they didn’t follow that precedent and potentially prevented voters from having a voice.

Currently, the district offers five half-day sessions to 80 students at Griffin Memorial School.

The full-day offering would have been available to 16 students, who would have been accepted through a lottery.

Albert McKeon can be reached at 594-5832 or amckeon@nashuatelegraph.com.