Last District in Suffolk County Without Full-Day Kindergarten Gets Approved for One

The Harborfields Board of Education voted 6-1 Tuesday night to approve a cap-piercing $82.85 million school budget that includes a full-day kindergarten program, according to Newsday.

The 2016-2017 budget goes beyond a state-mandated tax cap of 0.37 percent. The tax levy increase in Harborfields approved budget is 1.52 percent. According to budget figures, full-day kindergarten will cost the district $1.74 million to implement.

Resident Jennifer Rogdakis, founder of the Facebook group “Fair Start: Harborfields Residents for Full-Day Kindergarten,” said that the “board has been cautious all these years” in not implementing a full-day kindergarten program. Currently, Harborfields has a half-day program and is the only school district on Long Island without such a full-day one.

“This year, we can’t be cautious,” Rogdakis said. “I think it’s something our students need.”

There are 185 students anticipated to enroll in kindergarten this fall. The full-day program will take place in Washington Drive Primary School and the district plans on making an announcement to residents stating that kindergarten registration will be extended so that all students may sign up.

The approved budget also calls for other additional programs, including enhancement of co-curricular activities, BOCES cultural arts program, a high school music elective and a special education teacher.

“This is a budget that we support, that we spent a lot of time analyzing, that we believe is the best budget for our community, for our students and for the programs for the years to come,” said Francesco Ianni, the district’s assistant superintendent for administration and human resources.

Harborfields Superintendent Diana Todaro agreed, calling the budget’s approval “a significant day for Harborfields.”

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