Constituent emails read into the record

(Editor’s note: The following emails from District 728 constituents were read into the record before Monday’s night’s final discussion and decision to move ahead with implementation of an All Day Every Day K program. Names of the individuals were not included.)

I am reading the School Board minutes, the newspaper, the staff happenings and I am just confused/hurt/angry!

I have a concern with the School Board going forward with Full day kindergarten after the Levy was denied by your taxpayers.

To me…this just shows that it does not matter what the public says/votes,  the Board is going to do what they want no matter what.

I get that this is part of our strategic plan, but as a tax payer – you just told me you did not care about my opinion/vote on where my money goes within the district.

I believe all day kindergarten would be beneficial but at “what cost”? Are you going to cut Transitions, JAG, AVID, Title 1 services, Adapted PE, graduation requirements, teachers, etc?

ALL of our learners who currently are in programing should not be effected to have this “new programing”.

Why can’t we work on what we have and make it better?

I would love to hear your side of this and try to understand why I should vote for things the District asks for in the future.

Another view

My wife and I have enrolled our oldest son in the ECFE Pre-School program at Handke, and we are planning to send him to kindergarten at Lincoln Elementary in Fall 2013.  As parents and educators, we have anxiously watched the school board levy attempts to fund All-Day kindergarten programming.  It was frustrating to see that vote fail in November, but we were pleased to see the Elk River Star News report on December 7 that the school board is still considering this option for the school district.  Instituting all day, everyday kindergarten is a benefit for all students and should be available to everyone without additional fees.

We are both educators.  I teach English/language arts at Irondale High School in the Mounds View Public Schools, and my wife teaches first grade at Franklin Elementary in the Anoka-Hennepin Schools (a school which has recently provide all day, everyday kindergarten to all of its students free of charge).  We see the importance of all students getting a strong foundation in their academic career.  This is why we sent our son to Handke.  It is unfortunate that not every student has the opportunity to attend that program, and it is more unfortunate that only those who can afford the extra tuition can send their children to an all day/every day kindergarten classroom.

It is so essential that every student be given this opportunity.  While it is noble to consider full funding for the bottom economic third, ignoring the middle third is just an unacceptable option.  That is a group that needs as much, if not more support, than any other.

You know the data as well as we do; success by as early as third grade can have long-term positive affects on a student.  And success in this world is dependent upon more than a high school diploma.  Our schools need to make these students ready for post-secondary education, and that mission doesn’t start in 9th grade, or 6th grade.  It starts pre-K and is developed over the entire academic career of the student.

We are asking you today to do the right thing.  Not for our son, but for all students in the Elk River Public Schools.  Find a way to fully fund all day, everyday kindergarten for all students.  It may not be the popular decision, as the public vote showed on this issue, but it is the right decision.  The long-term positive impact of this decision will be felt for years.