WAYNE, NEW JERSEY – On NOVEMBER 8, 2016, regardless if you vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump…Please vote yes for FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN in Wayne, New Jersey on Election Day, November 8, 2016.
In addition to the national implications with selecting a new President, the election of November 8, 2016 will hold a special significance for the Wayne Township Public Schools.
Voters will be making an important decision about the future of the school district and will decide whether or not the district will offer a full-day kindergarten program starting with the 2017-2018 school year. The SPECIAL QUESTION will appear on the ballot as follows: RESOLVED, that there should be raised an additional $2,096,885 for General Funds for the ensuing school year (2016-2017).
These taxes will be used exclusively for the expansion of the District’s existing half-day Kindergarten program to a full day program, which proposed expenditures are in addition to those necessary to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards, with such total amount to be used as follows: Of said tax levy, $1,986,785 to employ additional personnel and to provide related professional development for the expansion of the District’s existing half-day Kindergarten program to a full day program, which will result in a permanent increase in the District’s tax levy; and of said tax levy, $110,100 to be used to provide funds for improvements to instructional spaces, including technology, to support the expansion of the Kindergarten program, which will not result in a permanent increase in the District’s tax levy.
In addition to the special question, the following INTERPRETIVE STATEMENT will appear on the ballot: A “YES” vote will establish full day kindergarten in the district with a $2,096,885 increase in the District’s tax levy for the 2016-2017 school year. The estimated tax impact to the average household assessment of $229,044.00 will be $93.91. A “NO” vote will prevent the District from expanding its existing half-day Kindergarten program to a full-day program. While the special question and interpretive statement are very informative, it is important to address a number of other common questions about the full-day kindergarten special question. The following FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) addresses many questions and inquiries from the public.
WAYNE TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN FAQ
Q: How will students benefit from a full-day kindergarten program? A: A full-day kindergarten program will better prepare students academically and socially for the first grade and beyond. The additional time in school will make it possible for the district to expand the existing curriculum, and it would also allow teachers to include more age appropriate learning opportunities, such as structured play and learning centers. Currently, time limits opportunities for structured play and learning centers. Additional time would also make it possible for the district to increase the amount of intervention services provided to our students in need.
Q: If full-day kindergarten is approved, will the district continue to offer half-day sessions for parents who would like their children to remain in a half-day setting? A: No, the special question includes a full-day program for all kindergarten students. No half-day kindergarten sessions would be offered.
Q: Will the district be required to undergo any construction or renovation work in order to accommodate the additional students? A: Currently, the district has the space to house additional students and no construction will be necessary. However, the district will have to make some changes with how our facilities are used. It is likely that the district will need to repurpose instructional space in a limited number of schools. Repurposing space would most likely mean that dedicated art and music classrooms would be converted to kindergarten classrooms. In other cases, specialized programs may be moved from one building to another. It is important to note that in the future, a significant increase with enrollment may require construction or renovation work.
Q: The public voted “no” to a special question about full-day kindergarten last November. Why is there another vote on full-day kindergarten? A: After the outcome of the last special question, and considering all other factors, the Board of Education and administration determined that full-day kindergarten is such a significant matter in the community that an additional opportunity to bring full-day kindergarten into the school system was warranted.
Q: Based on the special question, I can see that the cost of full-day kindergarten in Wayne for the first year will be $2,096,885. What impact will this have on my tax bill? A: $93.91 would be the total amount of additional tax needed to support full-day kindergarten for the 2017-2018 school year based on the 2016 average assessed household of $229,044.
Q: The election is being held on November 8, 2016. If the special question is approved by voters, the district won’t be adding full-day kindergarten until the following school year. What impact will this have on my tax bill? A: Taxpayers will receive a supplemental tax bill for the first and second quarter of 2017 (February and May tax bills). This supplemental tax bill will reflect an entire year’s worth of additional taxes split between these two quarters. Using the average assessed home as an example, the tax bills for the first and second quarter of 2017 would increase by $46.96 for each quarter.
NOTE: Municipalities in New Jersey operate on a calendar year while the fiscal year for school districts starts on July 1st and extends through June 30th. This regularly creates confusion whenever there are questions about the impact of the school budget on tax bills. In Wayne, taxes are due quarterly on February 1st, May 1st, August 1st and November 1st. The February and May bills would include the additional tax amount for full-day kindergarten.
TAX IMPACT BASED ON AVERAGE ASSESSED HOME OF $229,044 Quarterly Taxes Due Tax Impact February 2017 Your 1st Quarter Tax Bill + $46.96 May 2017 Your 2nd Quarter Tax Bill + $46.96
Q: If full-day kindergarten is approved by voters, the district will receive funding for a program that will not operate until the following year. What will the district do with my tax dollars? A: The 2017-18 school year does not start until July 1, 2017. Start-up costs are a part of the implementation costs and the district may make some purchases needed to start the program during the fiscal year 2016- 17, which ends June 30, 2017. The balance of the funding will remain in a reserve account to be used to support the operation of full-day kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year.
Q: Based on the timing of the election and tax collections, if voters approve full-day kindergarten, then the district will be collecting taxes to pay for full-day kindergarten one year in advance. How long will this go on and what will happen with this funding in future budgets? A: The advance collection of taxes only occurs during the year of the fullday kindergarten vote (2016-2017 school year). Thereafter, the collection of taxes would occur during the year in which the full-day kindergarten program is operational. ###
KINDERGARTEN STUDY: Full-Day versus Half-Day Kindergarten
PREPARED BY: Lisa Pitch, M.A. COORDINATOR OF RESEARCH Clark County School District Ordene Edwards, M.S. University of Nevada, Las Vegas Department of Educational Psychology CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03)
2 BACKGROUND Brief History of Full-day Kindergarten The idea for kindergarten programs was birthed by Freidrich Froebel in 1837 (Lee et al., 2006). Over the years, kindergarten education in the United States has been growing and experiencing tremendous transformations. In the 1950s, mostly all kindergarten programs employed the half-day kindergarten schedule (Puelo, 1988). Today, full-day kindergarten programs are quickly replacing the traditional half-day kindergarten schedules. In the U.S., about 98% of children attend at least a half-day kindergarten program, and about 60% of children attend full-day kindergarten programs (Education Commission of the States. (September 2004). However, only nine states “require districts to offer full-day kindergarten programs.” This trend is rapidly progressing although only the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia have mandatory full-day kindergarten programs (Education Commission of the States, 2004b). Moreover, traditionally, more private schools have offered full-day kindergarten programs than public schools. However, data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) show that about 57% of all public schools now have full-day kindergarten schedules (Walston & West, 2004). Factors Influencing the Growth of Full-Day Kindergarten Programs Several demographic and socio-cultural indicators can explain the growth of full-day kindergarten programs: 1. Approximately 60% of mothers who work outside the home have children of kindergarten age (Children’s Defense Fund, 1996). Given this current trend, schools needed to provide full-day kindergarten programs to accommodate parents’ child-care and scheduling needs. Moreover, given that the numbers of non-kindergarten programs were steadily declining resulting in a surplus of physical plants and school staffs in some locales, extra resources were created which could be diverted to full-day kindergarten programs (Lee et al., 2006). 2. Full-day kindergarten serves as a good transition from pre-kindergarten to elementary school (Olsen & Zigler, 1989). 3. Given the recent pressure for better scientific, technological, and economic advancement in order to receive a competitive edge in the global market, policy makers are pushing for better academic success, especially in literacy and numeracy skills among students. This pressure is quickly trickling down the academic ladder to kindergarteners (Lee et al., 2006). CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 3 The Full-Day Kindergarten Classroom 1. Full-day kindergarten schedules run for four and one-half to six hours per day, five days per week. 2. Full-day kindergarten follows the same school calendar as the early primary school grades. 3. In contrast, half-day kindergarten programs usually meet for two or three hours per day, five days a week. 4. This means that children enrolled in full-day kindergarten programs are in school approximately 32 hours per week, whereas half-day students are in school only 16 hours per week (Lee et al, 2004). Activities in Full and Half-Day Kindergarten 1. Gamoran and Milesi (2003) found that children who are enrolled in full-day programs get an average of twice as much instructional time as do half-day programs. However, this extra instructional time will only be beneficial to students if teachers engaged in activities that promote learning and development (Lee et al, 2004). 2. But as a matter of fact, teachers in full-day kindergarten programs spend more time on academic activities and students enrolled in these programs spend more time in self-selected activities. 3. Research suggests that self-selected activities promote greater and long-term learning outcomes for students (Graue et al., 2004; Huffman & Speer, 2000; Schweinhart & Weikart, 1997). Time Spent in Academic Activities in Full and Half-Day Kindergarten Programs 1. Students spend most of their time on reading, language arts, and mathematics activities in both programs but the total number of time spent on specific subjects differ in full and half-day programs (Ackerman, Barnett, & Robin, 2005). 2. Sixty-eight percent of full-day classes spent more than an hour per day on reading instruction as compared to 37% of half-day classes (National Center for Education Statistics, 2004). 3. Children who attend full-day kindergarten end up with “slightly more than one month of extra literacy learning” compared with children who attend half-day kindergarten; in math, the advantage “is slightly less than one month” (Lee, et al., 2001; 2002). 4. Full-day classes were more likely than half-day classes to spend time every day on math, social studies, and science ((National Center for Education Statistics, 2004). 5. Walston and West (2004) found that about 80% of full-day kindergarten programs spend more than 30 minutes a day on mathematics whereas only 50% of half-day programs devote more than 30 minutes to math. They also noted that 60% of fullday programs but only 37% of half-day classrooms spend at least 60 minutes on reading each day. Moreover, 79% of teachers in full-day kindergarten programs CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 4 actually read aloud to their students every day, but only 62% of half-day teachers do. 6. With research (e.g. Xue & Meisels, 2004) showing that reading aloud is an important factor in boosting students’ reading skills, this is particularly important for educators focused on kindergarten program impact. Time Spent in Teacher-Directed Versus Self-Selected Activities Research also suggests that students enrolled in full-day kindergarten programs spend more time in self-selected activities (e.g. Graue et al., 2004; Huffman & Speer, 2000; & Schweinhart & Weikart, 1997). For instance, Walston and West (2004) found that students in full-day kindergarten programs spend 57 minutes in self-selected programs while their counterparts in half-day programs spend only 32 minutes on these activities. Elicker and Mathur (1997) also found that students in full-day kindergarten programs spend an average of seven percent more time in self-selected activities. RELEVANT RESEARCH FINDINGS ON FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN AND ITS IMPACT ON STUDENT OUTCOMES Do Full-Day Kindergarten Programs Actually Provide Benefits to Students? Results from short-term and longitudinal research focusing on the benefits of full-day kindergarten are definitely mixed, but the data generally favor full-day kindergarten programs over half-day programs (Ackerman, Barnett, & Robin, 2005). Short-Term Academic Outcomes Researchers investigating children’s short-term academic outcomes after participating in full-day kindergarten have found mixed results. However, most of the evidence indicates that full-day kindergarten garners more positive short-term academic effects. The following studies are examples: 1. Lee et al (2006) used data collected by the ECLS-K data, sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) (U.S. Department of Education, 2000) to examine whether half or full-day kindergarten influence students’ math and literacy achievement. Results show that children enrolled in full-day kindergarten performed better in math and reading than their half-day counterparts. In fact, Lee et al (2006) suggested….“ favorable findings for kindergarten are not confined to disadvantaged children or to low-income or urban schools – all children benefit, in terms of learning more, when they attend kindergarten as a full-day program” (p. 197). 2. Walston, West, and Rathbun (2005) also found that after they controlled for student differences in fall scores, family risk factors (primary home language, household poverty level, mother’s education level, and household type), CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 5 race/ethnicity and sex, children in full-day kindergarten still outperformed their half-day counterparts in reading and mathematics. 3. Hough and Bryde (1996) found that students who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten classrooms received better report card grades in literacy, math, and general learning skills. 4. Da Costa and Bell (2001) also found statistically significant differences in the literacy development of full-day kindergarten students relative to students in halfday programs. 5. “Children in full-day kindergarten classes learned more during the year in both reading and mathematics compared to those in half-day classes after adjusting for learning differences associated with race/ethnicity, poverty status, fall achievement level, sex, class size, relative amount of time for subject area instruction, and the presence of an instructional aide” (National Center for Education Statistics, 2004). 6. Children attending full-day kindergarten programs not only had “higher scores on math and reading achievement tests” but also had “greater language abilities” (Lynch, 2005). 7. Beyond these differences in literacy and math learning and in language development, children attending full-day kindergarten spend more instructional time in math, science, social studies, art, and music than children attending halfday kindergarten (Miller, 2001). 8. While earlier findings indicated that full-day kindergarten was most beneficial academically for low income children, recent findings confirm that full-day kindergarten is “equally effective” and “advantageous” academically for children from all social and economic backgrounds (Lee et al., 2001; rev. 2002). 9. Moreover, participation in full-day kindergarten produces the largest academic effects (i.e., mean gain scores from the beginning of the kindergarten year to the end) when class sizes are under 17 and the smallest academic effects when class sizes are over 24 (Coley, 2002). Long-Term Academic Outcomes Research suggests that full-day kindergarten also has strong positive long-term effects on students’ academic outcomes beyond their kindergarten years. 1. The Evansville-Vanburgh (Indiana) School Corporation (1988) conducted a longitudinal study of students from kindergarten through Grade 8. The results indicated that students enrolled in full-day kindergarten performed better than the half-day kindergarten peers in reading, mathematics, hand-writing, spelling and English through Grade 3. Students who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten performed better on every category of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills in Grades 3, 5, and 7. Full-day kindergarten students earned higher GPAs than their half-day kindergarten peers in Grades 6 – 8. 2. A longitudinal study that tracked students from kindergarten into fourth grade in the Philadelphia School District also demonstrated that students enrolled in fullday kindergarten classrooms received higher report card grades and better CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 6 reading, math, and science scores on standardized test during their time in third grade than students in half-day kindergarten classrooms. These students continued to earn higher standardized science scores through the fourth grade (Del Gaudio & Offenberg, 2002, n.d.). 3. Anchorage (Alaska) School District conducted a longitudinal study on students enrolled in kindergarten through Grade 11. When full-day kindergarten effects were examined, results indicated that full-day kindergarten students showed greater improvement in GPA between Grades 7 and 8 than students who were on the half-day kindergarten schedule (Stofflet, 1998). 4. In addition. Cryan et al. (1992) found that full-day kindergarten students scored an average of seven percentile points more on standardized tests. 5. District 191 in Minnesota examined the results of the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests on students enrolled in different kindergarten schedules in one school. Results indicated that full-day kindergarten provided students with a higher baseline reading score in first grade compared to students who were enrolled in the other kindergarten programs (Wahlstom & Hansen, 2005). 6. Elicker and Mathur (1997) also found that students who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten were perceived as more ready for first grade than their half-day kindergarten peers. 7. Baskett, Bryant, White and Kyle (2005) conducted a study in the Auburn School District. They found that all-day kindergarten students had better reading and literacy skills and performed better on tests for letter sounds and story sequence. 8. Gullo (2000) found that by second grade, students who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten scored four to five points higher on the reading and math section of the Iowa Test of Basic Skill than students who were in half-day programs. 9. Moreover, McAuliffe (2003) found that first grade students who were in full-day kindergarten performed better in reading than the half-day counterparts. Teacher and Parent Perceptions of Full-Day Kindergarten Short-term and longitudinal research demonstrate that both teachers and parents feel there are numerous benefits for children both academically and socially enrolled in full-day kindergarten programs. 1. Martinez and Snider (2001) indicated that teachers in a full-day kindergarten program felt that the schedule afforded them the opportunity to get to know students and parents better, engage in more individualized instruction, and expand the curriculum. 2. Elicker and Mathur (1997) also noted that parents and teachers expressed increasing satisfaction for full-day kindergarten schedules over half-day schedules. Elicker and Mathur (1997) indicated that teachers favored the full-day program and their views became even more elaborate in the second year of the program. Moreover, the half-day teachers expressed increased support for the fullday program in the second year. Parents of children enrolled in full-day classes expressed uniformly more positive views of the full-day program in the second year than parents of children on a half-day schedule. CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 7 3. In a study conducted by Alber-Kelsay (1998), the results indicated that most teachers perceived full-day kindergarten superior to half-day kindergarten. Teachers felt that full-day kindergarten programs provided students more time to develop basic listening and language skills. Moreover, in a full-day kindergarten classroom, teachers believed that students were not bored, experienced a more indepth skill building program, and students were creating better social bonds with their peers. 4. Similarly, Saylor and Phillips (2003) found that teachers perceived students in full-day kindergarten as more literate than their half-day counterparts. Furthermore, teachers believed that the pace in a full-day kindergarten program was more relaxed and appropriately paced for students. 5. Rothenberg (1984) found that parents favored full-day kindergarten over half-day programs because it eliminated their child care problems and provided their children with a comprehensive, developmentally-appropriate program. 6. Moreover, Alber-Kelsay (1998), found that parents believed that their children learned more in the full-day program; were more ready for first grade; were more self-controlled; were more social; became more self-confident; became better listeners; were better able to follow directions; learned to enjoy music; had improved handwriting, cutting and coloring skills; were better prepared for reading and mathematics; developed better body coordination and had better home-school relationships (p.14). Short Term Social and Behavior Effects Research studies document that students enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program have not only academic benefits but social benefits as well (Alber-Kelsey, 1998). 1. Plucker et al (2004) in the review of national and Indiana data found that students who participated in full-day kindergarten classes had better work habits. More than half of the teachers in the study felt that students who were in full-day kindergarten were more independent than students in half-day classes. 2. According to Carter, Creswell, and deAlba (2004) attendance is a critical factor in a child’s ability to improve social and behavioral skills. Given this, Hough and Byrde (1996) found that students in full-day kindergarten programs attended 40 more hours of classes than their half-day counterparts. Long Term Social and Behavior Effects Research also shows long-term adaptive social and behavioral outcomes for students who attended full-day kindergarten. 1. Cryan et al. (1992) conducted a longitudinal study to investigate the effects of kindergarten schedules (half-day, alternate day and full-day) on elementary children’s success: achievement, incidence of grade retention, provision of special education services, and classroom behavior. The results indicated that teachers rated children in full-day classrooms higher on dimensions of classroom adaptive CLARK COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT (NV) (RE-46-03) 8 behaviors than children in half-day classes. That is, children enrolled in full-day kindergarten classes were perceived as more original, more independent in learning, more involved in classroom activities, more productive with peers, less intellectually dependent, less prone to failure anxiety, less unreflective, less withdrawn, less blaming, and more willing to approach the teacher than were children enrolled in half-day classes. Cryan et al. (1992) also found that full-day programs engender the development of pro-social characteristics in students. 2. Elicker and Mathur (1997) also conducted a two-year longitudinal experiment of four full-day and eight half-day kindergarten classrooms in Wisconsin. They found that children in full-day classes initiated more learning activities and received more one-to one teacher instruction, while spending less time in teacherdirected groups. They also found a greater degree of active engagement among students who had attended full-day kindergarten. 3. Several longitudinal research studies investigating pro-social development favor full-day over half-day programs. Results from the Philadelphia School District study indicated that students who attended full-day kindergarten were 26% more likely to be promoted through Grade 2 and 22% more likely to be promoted through Grade 4 without being retained than their peers who attended half-day kindergarten (Del Gaudio& Offenberg, 2002). 4. In addition, Plucker et al (2004) found that students in first grade who were enrolled in both full and half-day kindergarten received equivalent satisfactory percentage marks. However, full-day kindergarten students had a smaller percentage of unsatisfactory marks than their half-day students. Students who were enrolled in full-day kindergarten had higher satisfactory and lower unsatisfactory percentage marks in second grade than those who were enrolled in half-day programs By the third grade, students who attended full-day kindergarten had also received satisfactory marks more often that half-day students.