Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Division drags feet on full-day kindergarten

  • Print

FOUR-YEAR-OLDS living in the Winnipeg School Division may get full-day kindergarten and nursery -- but some of those children may not see it until they have four-year-olds of their own.

With apocalyptic visions of school-tax doom filling the boardroom Monday night, WSD trustees sent trustee Mark Wasyliw's idea for full-day nursery and kindergarten to its finance committee for a full report from the administration.

"It's a great idea, but who's going to pay for it?" asked trustee Mike Babinsky.

"Something of this magnitude needs special consideration," because taxpayers are very concerned how much it could cost, said trustee Rita Hildahl, who said the costs could run as high as $50 million.

Hildahl did not substantiate that figure before the board went into the closed-door portion of its meeting.

SSLqIt's a great idea, but who's going to pay for it?'

-- Mike Babinsky

The division needs to "study the feasibility of this," said trustee Kristine Barr, like Hildahl a supporter in principle.

Hildahl said maybe the division could try full days in one or two schools as a pilot project next fall.

Trustee Jackie Sneesby said she won't go to the public until she knows what kind of an education the division would be offering.

Two weeks ago, Wasyliw said he wants it rolled out in every elementary school by the 2018-19 school year, launching it first in the lowest socio-economic areas where kids need the most help to avoid falling behind in school.

Monday night, he'd backed off, telling the board that, "It may take five years, it may take 10 years."

Moments later, scrumming with reporters while the rest of the board dealt with in-camera business, Wasyliw said it could take 20 years to be in every WSD school.

"Two or three schools a year, we will always be able to find the money for that," he said. "I'm going to take this as a victory.

"We're talking about a change in the culture of education. We don't have the (classroom) space, and we have to put the money in place.

"I don't want to bankrupt Winnipeg School Division doing this," Wasyliw said.

He said Ontario has produced great results in students' social and learning development by going full-day, every day in both nursery and kindergarten.

The province does not fund nursery at all, and only funds half days of kindergarten. Half-day nursery costs $6 million and every penny comes out of WSD property taxes -- the province only funds half-day kindergarten under current policy.

There were 1,863 nursery school students in 2012-13 in the division, and 2,342 kindergarten students.

Going to full days could require hundreds of additional teachers and more classrooms as well.

The finance committee meets behind closed doors. The administration would have to study all aspects of the proposal and report back in time for a vote by the March 15 budget deadline, for anything to happen next fall. That's also when the next election will be held.

"I'd love to run an election on this issue," said Wasyliw.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 8, 2013 A5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this week - December 8-12

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on the Jets so far this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google