Dysart School District outlines plans for phasing out all-day kindergarten

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Parents and board members will get their first glimpse of what the 2015-2016 school year will look like for Dysart schools minus $6 million the district was forced to cut due to a failed override.

The superintendent plans to explain how they will phase out all-day kindergarten and more at the governing board's 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

"What you're going to hear this evening is plans for teachers to share campuses, you know, to travel as teaching teams from one school to the other -- one school in the a.m. and another school in the p.m.," said Assistant Superintendent Jim Dean.

In addition to traveling from one school to another, kindergarten teachers will also have to condense the curriculum.

Currently, they have more than six hours to work with. In the fall, they will have less than half that.

"Right now, kindergarten students go to art class, music class, they to to P.E. throughout the course of the week; that will no longer be the case," Dean said. "With only two and a half hours of instruction every day, we'll need every minute of that to be dedicated to core academic subjects."

The superintendent does plan to announce a new extended day program which parents of kindergarten students can pay for.

"It would not be kindergarten instruction with our kindergarten teachers; it would focus on enrichment type activities similar to what you'd see before and after school," Dean said.

The program, though, would have to be self sufficient, meaning it would require a certain number of students to enroll in order for schools to be able to offer it.

The changes are part of ongoing cost-cutting measures the district is taking in an effort to shave off $6 million from next school year's budget.

Last month, DUSD announced more than 100 teachers would not be returning next year due to the cuts.

"This is something that we hope is a one-year issue that we're dealing with," Dean said. "We're hopeful that our governing board will consider placing this back on the ballot in November. We're hopeful that our community will truly see the need to support this override."

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held at the district offices in Surprise.

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