Committee to look into full-day kindergarten in Shelton

The Board of Education (BOE) has created an ad hoc committee to look into establishing a full-day kindergarten program in Shelton.

BOE Chairman Mark Holden said the committee would focus on the potential costs and availability of facilities, “and hopefully come up with a proposal that makes sense.”

The committee will be comprised of four school board members.

It was established after an appeal from Lisa Czaplinski, a Shelton mother who has started an online petition in support of full-day K. Czaplinski held a meeting with education officials on the idea, and Holden and School Supt. Freeman Burr were among those in attendance.

More remediation without kindergarten?

Speaking at a BOE meeting, Czaplinski said the lack of a full-day program leads to the need for more remediation of students in the lower grades, which is costly to the city.

She said she has seen this in her own family.

A half-day program particularly hurts students with autism and limited English language skills, according to Czaplinski. “By not implementing full-day kindergarten, we’re holding them back,” she said.

She also said full-day K could increase property values, making Shelton a more desirable place for young families to live.

Wants aldermen to consider funding

Czaplinski said the BOE could ask the Board of Aldermen to add funds to begin full-day K in the next school year to the budget. “I implore you to do so,” she said.

Education officials have said a program likely would begin with a pilot program at some elementary schools. Czaplinski said she understands and could support this approach, but wants it to begin this fall.

She also has met with Mayor Mark Lauretti on the issue. She said Lauretti should consider implementing full-day K and keeping the mill rate flat, rather than trying to lower the mill rate, in the upcoming fiscal year.

With this approach, Shelton could keep its currently low tax rate while investing in its education system, Czaplinski said.