The Logan City School District has approved a one-year pilot for a supplemental kindergarten program at Hillcrest Elementary School at its Board of Education meeting Tuesday evening.
“The purpose of this program is to provide a way for students who would benefit from additional time to access that additional time with a certified classroom teacher,” LCSD Superintendent Frank Schofield said.
Optional Extended Day Kindergarten programs are currently available at Ellis, Bridger, Woodruff and Adams Elementary Schools. The OEK program is targeted for at-risk students.
OEK programs are not available at all elementary schools because the program is funded through the state. Funding for the schools is based on student demographics and student population. HES currently does not qualify for OEK funding.
The proposal for the program originated with Hillcrest Community Council surveys after 15 parents showed interest.
“This would be a way where parents are saying, ‘We don’t have that option at our school. Is this a way where we could still provide that option?’” Schofield said.
The pilot would be similar to the OEK programs available at the other elementary schools, but parents willing to participate in the program would pay a tuition that would cover the expenses of their child and a scholarship for another student to balance the students who receive the services.
“We want to investigate this as a possible option for still providing that additional supplemental kindergarten time for students who need it,” Schofield said.
Recent changes in school boundaries have changed students who would originally be going to Woodruff, an OEK school, moved to Hillcrest and the program would offer those students the opportunity to receive the services.
The Hillcrest Community Council also agreed that if for some reason there is a drop in tuition-paying students causing a problem to the program, the council would use their school land trust.
“That would be an acceptable use of school land trust because it would still be addressing their greatest academic need as identified in their school approval plan,” Schofield said.
Board Member Kristie Cooley said she hopes the program can prove to be self-sustaining so the use of school land trust is rare.
“I would hope that that would be the exception and not the norm,” Cooley said, “that it’s self-sustaining financially so that they don’t have to use those resources from trust lands to pay for this just because it does take away money from other students.”
According to Schofield, one of the reasons the Hillcrest Community Council wanted to start the program as a pilot was the goal to not have to use those funds.
Board Member Ann Geary said the board does ask for updates on pilot programs throughout the year to see how it is working.
“When we do do a pilot, we ask for reports back,” Geary said. “We look for any issues that are brought up so that we can deal with any of those issues if they come up.”
If the pilot is successful or if other schools would like to try the supplemental program, Schofield said the school community would have to approach the board with the proposal like Hillcrest did.