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Education

Glen Ellyn School District 41 talks full-day kindergarten survey, space concerns

Paul Gordon
Paul Gordon

GLEN ELLYN – Glen Ellyn School District 41 officials have shared the results of a survey gauging community interest in bringing full-day kindergarten to the district.

Superintendent Paul Gordon delivered the report to the Board of Education at its meeting Monday. District 41 has been considering introducing full-day kindergarten since 2012, and talks have accelerated in recent months.

In October, board members requested the district put out a survey to determine community interest. The district received 642 responses. Of those, 446 people – 69 percent – said they believe the district should offer full-day kindergarten.

A majority of the responses were parents of a future kindergartner or a student currently enrolled in District 41. Each category had more than 300 respondents. There were 128 respondents who have no children in the district.

Gordon said he was "pleased with the response" the community gave to the survey.

At the board's next meeting, Gordon will request it approve FGM Architects to provide space options for the district to support full-day kindergarten.

These include restructuring existing space or building a new school. Gordon has previously said the latter is a more likely option.

"There literally is no room within the buildings. It is jam-packed and there's no flexibility, which concerns me greatly," he said.

Principals of the district's elementary schools attended the board meeting to explain the limits of existing classroom space.

Churchill Elementary Principal Scott Klespitz said the school's expanding dual language program would limit its ability to have full-day kindergarten.

"This year I couldn't do it. The year after that I could do it, but I would need the portable classrooms to stay in order to make everything work. The year after that … I wouldn't be able to do it," he said.

Forest Glen Elementary Principal Mary Hornacek said hallway congestion would be a concern, along with a reduction in teacher workspace.

Other principals agreed full-day kindergarten would mean a reduction in classroom space.

"We do believe that without full-day kindergarten, our facilities are strained," Gordon said. "And by adding more students, it really exacerbates the situation."

The district is still seeking community input on whether to proceed with full-day kindergarten. It will host a town hall meeting discussion on the topic at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Hadley Junior High School, 240 Hawthorne Blvd.

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