All-day kindergarten classes in Virginia Beach one step closer

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VIRGINIA BEACH – Future kindergarten students may attend all-day classes after the school board voted to approve the change on Tuesday evening.

Pending approval from the city council, the city’s public schools would extend the classes from half-day to full day. The resolution was passed by a 6-5 vote. Also part of the resolution is the expansion of pre-kindergarten programs.

At the school board’s meeting on March 1, board member Sharon Felton expressed support in adapting to the new schedule.

“I really want our school system to flourish,” Felton said before an unofficial “straw” vote was conducted to gauge support for the resolution.

The school board also voted to approve another resolution which would request $14 million from the city to implement the program changes.

According to a news release from the school board, “the requested funds would also be used for the required local match to expand pre-kindergarten programs under the Virginia Pre-School Initiative.” The release said that any unspent funds would be used to “support the division’s Capital Improvement Plan or fund unmet one-time needs.”

The board also approved the 2017-2018 budget, a total $748.1 million, including a 2 percent raise for all staff members.

“As educators we know the value of increased learning time for both the social-emotional development of our young students and their academic growth, particularly in reading and math,” said Superintendent Aaron Spence in the release. “Our community and City leaders clearly understand those benefits as well. In fact, a robust early education program is identified as a priority in the City’s strategic plan.”

City council will soon vote on the resolutions passed in Tuesday night’s board meeting.

Poulter can be reached at amy@localvoicemedia.com