As many community members are aware, the 2011-12 budget approved by voters in mid-May calls for a reduction in the district’s kindergarten program from the current full-day program to a half-day session.

An innovative and cost-effective solution was sought by the Board of Education that would minimize this partial loss of program by moving forward with a supplemental half-day “Kinder-skills” session that utilized teaching assistants instead of teachers. The teaching assistants would appropriately be supervised by a teacher as well as building and central administration.

Unfortunately, this program met opposition from the Elwood Teachers’ Alliance, and after extensive investigation and consultation with legal counsel, we have been advised that this option is not possible because it would be formally challenged as an improper work practice under the existing collective bargaining agreement (you can read the attorney memo here).  Furthermore, based on precedent, it is likely that defending this challenge would be costly and, ultimately, unsuccessful.

We are disappointed by the loss of our full-day kindergarten program, but acknowledge that difficult choices must be made under the financial circumstances that exist.  We will continue to explore creative ways of implementing important programs for our students and hope that the entire school community will embrace new endeavors in the future.