Minn. School Districts Prepare for Free All-Day Kindergarten

Updated: 01/12/2014 10:46 PM
Created: 01/12/2014 8:00 PM
By: Leslie Dyste

It's time to enroll for the 2014-2015 school year and it's more work this year for public school districts.

All-day kindergarten is going to be free, and schools will see many more students than they have in past years. Legislators set aside $134 million just for kindergarten and districts are making changes to accommodate more young students.

Clear Springs Elementary School in Minnetonka is one of many schools across the state making big changes. Right now the kindergarten students at the school are in class for 2.5 hours. Next year, they'll be in class for 6 hours and 40 minutes. 

Clear Springs is adding two new classrooms while revamping two other classrooms to use for all day kindergarten.

When asked about overcrowding concerns Clear Springs Principal Curt Carpenter responded, "Our class ratio will stay the same because we're adding the extra classrooms, I'm not concerned about overcrowding at all."

As for curriculum, teachers, principals, and superintendents will revise it this summer.

We checked in with other districts. Minnetonka Public Schools says it will cap the number of kindergartners at 750. That's despite getting approximately 1,000 applicants each year. Still, to make room for the change the district is adding a total of four more classrooms and five more teachers.

KSTP also checked in with Mounds View where at least five more teachers will be added. They will also reopen two former schools to turn them into kindergarten centers. They'll also transition their current K-5 elementary schools for grades 1-5.

Several districts including Anoka, Hennepin, Eden Prairie and South Washington County already offer full-day kindergarten but they are planning for more students to take part next year.

Most districts will still offer part-time kindergarten as an option for students who aren't ready to be in the classroom full time.

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