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Full day kindergarten could be delayed due to budget constraints

The Loudoun County School Board spent a fair amount of their scheduled work session Jan. 26 discussing programs and compensation considered for the cutting board in the fiscal 2013 school operating budget.

A major topic throughout this budget process has been full-day kindergarten.

Under Loudoun County Public Schools Superintendent Edgar Hatrick’s proposed budget, the first phase of full-day kindergarten would begin in fiscal 2013 and continue over the next three years.

A majority of the school board members would like to implement full-day kindergarten, but under the current budget restraints they are unsure if it will be possible for this fiscal year.

Jeff Morse (Dulles) was the first to speak on the topic, saying he was worried about the needs that will come with implementing the program.

“If you were to pick a school like Buffalo Trail [Elementary School], you would see that the average class size would be 35.5 students, and that obviously is not going to work, so where are these kids going to go?,” Morse said. “They are not going to be able to house all of the kindergarteners at Buffalo Trail. So now we are talking about moving kindergarteners for a year and then bringing them back for first grade.

“I don’t know how that can work and I am not willing to take some of the children out of the community for their first year of school and then put them back in the community for the second year of school,” Morse said.

Morse added he is troubled by trying to kick off the program, because while he’s in favor of it, it’ll create a competition for seats that are needed to handle the rapid growth in the community.

Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) suggested the school board include this topic at a Joint School Board and Board of Supervisors Committee Meeting to better understand what the long-term cost will be.

“I would like to move the conversation this year into the Joint Board to begin to talk about this and try to analyze this and begin to maybe lay some sort of trajectory to do it,” Hornberger said. “That’s how I think we should move personally, but I don’t think we can afford it in the current budget.”

Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) wants to put the issue to the community.

“I want to put this out as a bond referendum so the community can have the ultimate say, so there is money in place to implement it over a four year phase,” Sheridan said. “I am in full support of opening up that dialogue with the the Board of Supervisors to make that happen.”


Please remember the taxpayers.  Our tax bills are crushing us and there is always more perks around the corner we can add to our plate, but it’s killing the families who have to pay these taxes.

Can someone tell me where it states that Virginia will provide bus service for all school children. I have looked all I see is that for special needs children who live 2 miles from school we have to provide bus service. Let the parents pay for the bus service at 4 dollars a day. Whole lota saving going there!

“Research has proven that full day kindergarten students show statistically significant mean gains on English, mathematics, and handwriting subtests of standardized achievement testing.”

Ann N - this is all about improving test scores.  A full day of teaching to the test will certainly result in higher test scores than teaching to the test for a half day, but it does not result in any long-term academic benefits.

Please stop whining about Loudoun being the richest county in America and not wanting to pay for FDK. The LCPS budget already swallows up 75% of the entire budget, it simply can not get any bigger. It is not my problem if people need full day care for their 5 years olds, perhaps they should budget better or make other decisions that can help their bottom line. My bottom line is no new taxes for FDK. We can’t afford it.

It is not a matter of not believing that full day K is important. I would LOVE to see full day K…though I would not benefit from it, my kids are all in high school and college. But, the biggest concern here is SPACE! Where would these kids be housed? yes, there are some smaller schools where it could be implemented but it would be YEARS before the phase in plan could be implemented in the rest of the schools…and it does not make sense to start a program that does not have a plan in place for full implementation. I suggest that when designing/building new schools that they build them with full day K in mind.  To jump on this now would mean modular classrooms for nearly every school until newer schools or additions can be made. Where is the money coming from? This would mean large tax increases and I am not interested in that. Basically, right now it means “what can we cut to implement a program that can only benefit a few children”  I would like to see a reasonable long range phase in plan that can be put in place without huge infrastructure costs all at once.

15 k a year per student is too much. I do not want to pay more in taxes, i want to pat less. If you want full day kindergarden pay your $240 a month like Seattle and be happy. Also I think it’s a parents resposibility to get their child to school. If they ride the bus charge $4.00 a day to the childs family not the taxpayer.

There is a huge gap in the belief systems of mothers who sacrifice financially in order to raise their own children and those who tell themselves their children are so much better off academically and socially when they hand them off to strangers all day long (from the time they can begin to hold their little heads up) so that they can go to work to pay for those big houses and SUVs that the genXers around here seem to absolutley need to survive.  My son does just fine, (teachers have always told me what a great kid he is) and he tells me all the time that he is glad that he wasn’t put into day care and all day preschool like most of his friends were.

To address the comments on here about unemployment - first of all, the rate of unemployment in Loudoun County is around 3.9%.  Give me a break!!!  More parents, specifically mothers, might be able to go back to work or work better jobs and hours if their child was in an all day kindergarten program.  Most parents that I know now who have children in half-day kindergarten DO NOT WORK because they cannot afford the burden of a full-time daycare provider!  Think about it!  A full week of afterschool care at the taekwondo program my son attends is approximately $125 a week. A full month of full-time daycare after three hours of kindergarten is at a minimum, double the cost.  A full-day of kindergarten enables a parent to work (hypothetically) full-time, or close to, which equals more taxes collected for the county.

Wowwww..what a bunch of whiney, child-sheltering parents in this discussion. My son started out in an all-day Kindergarten program in Tampa, FL, and when we moved to Leesburg, he was way far ahead of his first grade class.  I am simply amazed that the so-called ‘richest county in the nation’ is complaining about the educational benefits of putting their child in an all-day program. Research has proven that full day kindergarten students show statistically significant mean gains on English, mathematics, and handwriting subtests of standardized achievement testing. Similar results have been found in studies on other achievement outcomes, including prerequisite reading skills and oral language assessments. The benefits of a full day program favor the development of a child’s social and behavioral attitudes. Allowing your child out of the house for three hours a day, and return to your parental shelter does not benefit little Johnny or Sally. For the parent who stated in their comment that they were apprehensive about having their child gone for three hours out of the day - Again, WOW!  Cut the cord! It is not about the quantity of time you spend with your child, but the quality.  Not to mention that kids need to practice their social skills without you as a parent hovering over them. The children having to be five years of age by the time school starts is aimed at weeding out the “thumb suckers” - an age where children are mature enough to be away from home, and in the classroom. Both of my kids were on the cusp of turning six by the time they started school. I think some of the parents commenting in this forum should have more faith in their child’s abilities. My daughter is in Kindergarten this year at Ball’s Bluff and I feel that the children get cheated in their academic development by only being allowed three hours a day!  The teachers are as equally cheated on time with the children – as they have to deal with two full-sized three hour classes? My daughter did just fine in an all-day preschool and I only moved her over to Ball’s Bluff knowing that if I kept her in the private Kindergarten and then having to move her into 1st grade at Ball’s Bluff, she would be waiting on the other kids to catch up to her level.  With the United States moving further and further away from dominance in academics, we should be demanding an all day program.  Children need to be exposed to all academic areas and in my opinion, even more so in the areas of math and science. And how do any of you propose that kids who are being shipped off to daycare after 3 hours of school are benefitting?  Oh…wait, they get to go to a program where you pay an arm and a leg for someone to watch your kid play for the remainder of the day while you work?

Yes you are correct when there is a will there is a way definately.

google docs auditing

Look into seattles program. That makes sense

MG, If you are so cheesed off about a retort to your post I can’t help you. I didn’t call you or your grandmother stupid, I called your post and reasoning stupid.

Where are you from? It would be interesting to know considering taxes have ballooned out of control in this county over the past decade. Therefore your comment about everyone not wanting to pay “their fare share” indicates you don’t even know what is happening in your own county. Maybe you are new to Loudoun and used higher taxes, or maybe you don’t understand that the LCPS already swallows 75% of the entire county budget, but might I suggest that labeleing people whiners for wanting to keep taxes low in indeed another stupid argument.

You don’t have to be college educated to figure this stuff out, so being a “simple high school graduate with a blue collar job” has no bearing on the discussion at hand. You can’t teach common sense.


Leesburg Person, I am not complaining about paying more taxes. Nor am I saying tax the old. I said they would be largely exempted from any increase. You are right your parents did pay their taxes they did their bit. I am asking why younger generations have such a problem with doing theirs. That is a societal shift. 
I don’t need help paying for my kid’s private school but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the kids in our county who don’t have that option. How did education come to be equated with some frivolous entitlement? I am just a simple high school graduate with a regular blue collar job but even I can see that our kids will need a much better education to succeed than previous generations. Did you really call me and my grandmother stupid? That was so classy. IS YOUR USE OF ALL CAPS MEANT TO BE INTIMIDATING?  IT IS NOT WORKING. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Loudoun Mom, Please read my post again.  I suggested that parents who want full day Kindergarten could provide their own transportation if they wanted FDK for their child.  The older schools could be set aside for FDK, and the other elementary kids would go to other schools, which in my opinion should have happened long ago.  LCPS can’t afford the small rural schools that served in the past because of all the federal and state requirements that exist for schools now.  Keeping them open for FDK might provide the space for FDK for children who are not special needs or from poor families.  If you really want the service, you should be willing to provide the transportation or pay for private Kindergarten, or better yet stay home with your kids until they are in school all day (and then you will have to find before or after school care or pay for CASA).  You could always move to Fairfax or some other jurisdiction in NOVA that has gone through the growing pains and have sufficient facilities for FDK.

my 2 cents
Really, you want to put a bunch of 5 years olds on a who knows how long bus ride for a full day kindergarten program? Which would then make those students who are currently in those schools be bussed to who knows where for their classes. Full day will come, in time. But while the county is growing, it won’t be soon. Now, what can and should be looked at is building future facilities that can accommodate a full day program and then slowly implement it in all schools once the infrastructure has caught up with the growth~ as best as it can.

MG, Yet another argument based on one elderly person’s opinion that they want to pay more taxes. Plain stupidity. If your grandmother wants to pay higher taxes maybe she can stroke a check to the county coffers, or the state, or the federal govt, or all three! Stop trying to sell this as some societal shift, because my parents will tell you to keep your hands off their money. They earned it, they raised their kids, they payed taxes and don’t want to be viewed as a source of additional income for FDK. Plain stupid.

Maybe your grandmother can write YOU a check so that YOU can stop complaining about everyone paying more taxes.

Has anyone on the Board or school staff looked into converting the four small old schools in western Loudoun into dedicated full day kindergarten facilities?  The communities there could keep their revered historical schools, and those parents who really want all day kindergarten can get in their SUV’s and drive little Johnny and Janie to the program they believe is so important.

Me, I stayed home with my child and gave up lots of material luxuries.  In fact, I hated to see him leave every morning for just three hours.  He is going to high school next year and is just as well adjusted, perhaps more so, than any of his peers who spent time in full day preschool, daycare and kindergarten. I have wonderful memories of our years together when he was a young child.

I do believe children from poor families and those with learning disabilities should get extra time in a full day kindergarten program.  We are certainly wealthy enough in Loudoun to provide that.

Tax credits would open the door to further tax credits for those who choose to homeschool their kids, and I don’t think we can afford the lost revenue.  That is a choice homeschoolers make when they have the option of sending their children to some of the best public schools in the country.  Let’s keep them that way and focus on attracting and retaining good teachers and reducing classroom size.

Good for you if you have decided to invest the money for private kindergarten. Too bad your kid is going to have to waste the first grade waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.
As far as seniors go, my grandmother doesn’t mind if you raise taxes to pay for it because she is old and poor so she barely pays any taxes. She also comes from a generation with enough class to sacrifice for her children (community, country or church) without constant complaint.
Most people moved here because it was a beautiful safe place to raise a family. It is a privilege to live in a place like Loudoun and what comes with that privilege is the responsibility of continuing to maintain and improve the quality of life here. If you are totally incapable of looking past your own financial benefit please remember a portion of the value of your home and its salability is tied to the quality of the school distinct in which it is located.

Leesburg Guy, you made a choice to send your child to a full day preschool program which is in all reality a day care center…but I could be wrong. If you don’t think she will do well in a 1/2 day program, by all means continue with the program you are currently in…but MY tax money needs to be spent on other things within the school system right now. I would prefer to have high quality teachers and lower class size for ALL grade levels.

Well Leesburg Guy, It is ALL about your child isn’t it? Fortunately the world does not revolve around your child’s educational needs and people that are concerned about space and costs have an opinion too. If you are willing to pay double for FDK find a private FDK program and enroll your child, but stop attempting to cram it down the county’s throat so that we all pay for your child’s preference.

“There is no reason to have full day kindergarten”

Sure there is.  My kid is in full day preschool now and dropping to 1/2 the time actively engaged in learning would certainly slow her excellent progress, not to mention we still have to pay for care for the second half of the day (which is suspiciously close in cost to full day preschool).

I agree 100% with John K. Erickson’s comment.  I’d happily pay even double that amount for FDK.  Its still less than 1/2 the cost of what the daycare charges for 1/2 day and there’d be continuity with one teacher and one class.

if someone chooses to go to a private full day program, that is their choice. Much like it is a choice to go to ANY private school or homeschool for that matter. The tax burden is the same, no, you should not get a tax credit because you chose to do something different. Agreed that a full day program would be nice, but I am not willing to pay for it when we have so many other issues, mostly SPACE that are priorities.  Full day Kindergarten is not about hiring a few teachers, it is MAJOR rebuilding of our schools. This would mean 1) modular classrooms, not ideal, too small, too noisy, just not a good learning space 2) a shift in lunch schedules to accommodate an extra 6 classes (do we really want lunch at 10.30 or 2 pm, this would mean the cafe staff would be there longer hours, meaning they would be paid more 3) hiring at least another music, PE teacher and possibly library staff and technology teacher for each school and 4) a possible increase in the special education staff and other support staff depending on the population of the classrooms. A phase in program is the way to go on this, but not is this current budget cycle. The children are not suffering in any way.

Seattle has a optional full day kindergarden at $240 a month per student. Sounds very reasonable to me, let the parents kick in if they want full day kindergarden.

Sorry, left out a pertinent point during my tirade. I am suggesting parents look outside of the public school system for full-day kindergarten, just as they do for preschool. To lessen the cost for parents, provide subsidies or tax credits to those who choose a private full-day option over the 1/2 day public school option. I am not suggesting any full-day programs for LCPS public schools. We simply cannot afford it right now. Parents need to understand that implementing such a massive change to the school day cannot happen during a recession and with unemployment rates so high.

Really? You can’t have FDK without raising taxes. Have anyone seen the budget Hatrick has submitted? It includes over 11% increase, this won’t happen. There is too much to cut and FDK is not necessary nor is it mandatory. Our schools are too small as well, so NO to FDK and NO to tax increases.

How about subsidies or tax credits for those parents who do enroll their kids in full-day kindergarten and opt-out of the 1/2 day public school program? This will serve many purposes—give parents what they want at a reasonable cost, reduce the number of required seats within public schools, allow better resourcing for public school kindergarteners who require more resources, and stimulate local small business development by increasing demand for private educational services.

And for you folks who are suggesting we overburden our elderly…ARE YOU INSANE??? Do not forget you are not only a parent, but also a child with parents of your own. Unlike you all, my parents ARE NOT doing as well as my family financially, and I resent your implication that we should redirect a bigger portion of the shrinking taxpayer dollar revenue pool to school causes alone.

I believe wholeheartedly in full day kindergarten – so much so that I went back to work so I can pay for a private full-day program for both my kids.  I am personally willing to pay for parking at the high school, AP exams, and athletic fees because I want the best for my kids. BUT RAISING TAXES ACROSS THE BOARD FOR EVERY SINGLE TAXPAYER IS NOT THE ANSWER.

That first comment is probably Hatrick himself. 

Sorry, we can’t afford this and all the rest of the extras.

it is not necessarily about money…it is about SPACE! where exactly does one plan to house the 6 classrooms of full day kindergarten in schools that barely have enough space for the classes they have. That would mean having modular classrooms at nearly every elementary school in Loudoun county and THAT would cost quite a bit of money. There is no reason to have full day kindergarten. I can understand it for low income or at risk kids but not for the general population in Ashburn. How should one increase the budget for schools? Something has to give..I pay enough in taxes and don’t want to pay for more programs that are not really necessary. How about cutting the Spanish program in the elementary schools? That could save about 5 million…There are other things that could be cut too. I have children in the school system..but I am tired of paying for things that do not enhance their education.

Anybody see this weeks times mirror? Showed since 2008 lcps operating budget has increased by around 75 million. It’s time for some major cuts. NO teacher deserves a guaranteed pay increase, when most teachers are not held to any standards.

Why tax the elderly? We all know most have paid there fair share and have virtually zero extra $$$ in this overpriced county we call Loudoun.

Cut the tax breaks to the old retired people milking the county, and not paying their fair share, to fund Full Day kindergarten.

Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut, Cut….!!!!! Oh, we don’t have any money for full day kindergarden.  Surprise Surprise.  The School Board is already destroying the school system by their cuts.  How about increasing the budget for the schools so we CAN have it?  Where there is a will, there is a way.  Stop Lying to the public…you simply don’t want it.  Scott York’s cutting ways will have severe impacts on Loudoun County’s school system….ALL OF WHICH WILL BE NEGATIVE.

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