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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

School district considers half-time kindergarten to address overcrowding

“That’s a pretty logical solution to fix a big problem,” Chad Maher, GUSB trustee

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Glendive Public Schools officials are still bandying about ideas to try and address the increasingly overcrowded conditions at Jefferson Elementary School.

At last week’s monthly meeting of the Glendive Unified School Board, board members discussed the possibility of going back to a half-day schedule for kindergarten to help free up classroom space and mitigate problems with classroom sizes exceeding accreditation standards.

“Would we fix some of our problems if we went back to a half-day kindergarten,” asked board member Brian Steffen.

Several board members expressed some level of support for looking into the possibility.

“That’s a pretty logical solution to fix a big problem,”said board member Chad Maher. “I think it’s a pretty good option to help solve the overcrowding problem.”

Under a half-day schedule, half of the kindergarten class would attend school in the morning and the other half arrive in the afternoon, conceivably freeing up classrooms and teachers.

Trustee Jenifer Knutson suggested a half-day schedule wouldn’t affect learning ability.

“We all turned out pretty good, and we all probably went half a day,” she said.

Going to a half-day kindergarten schedule may have other side effects, however.

Trustee Jeanne Seifert said it could create problems with parents who would need daycare for their kids if they weren’t in kindergarten all day, given the current shortage of daycare options in Glendive.

“That’s a problem in town right now,” Seifert said. “I think we need to find out what parents think, too.”

District transportation director Charles Phipps said going to a half-day kindergarten schedule could create some busing problems, though he added those could be overcome.

The possibility of moving the Pre-K class to Washington Middle School for this coming academic year to free up some space at Jefferson is still under consideration.

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

Get the whole story in the Thursday, June 19, 2014 print issue of the Ranger-Review.
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