From classroom trends to school board decisions, Class Act will keep you updated on all the school issues followed by the Star Tribune’s education reporters. Contributors include Steve Brandt, who covers Minneapolis; Kim McGuire, who covers the west metro; Erin Adler, who covers the south metro; Anthony Lonetree and Libor Jany, who cover St. Paul and the east metro, and Paul Levy and Shannon Prather, who cover the north metro.

Edina School Board approves free, all-day kindergarten for 2014-2015

Posted by: Kim McGuire Updated: November 19, 2013 - 5:45 PM

The Edina School Board has signed off on offering free, all-day kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year.

In doing so, the West metro school district joins the growing ranks of Minnesota schools offering all-day kindergarten after legislators last spring decided to fund full-day programming.

Many schools already offer free, all-day kindergarten. But many others, like Edina, currently charge for all-day kindergarten and also offer free, half-day programs.

About 75 percent of Edina's current kindergarten families opt for the district's fee-based full-day program and, in recent years, there's been a wait list for families wanting to enroll in all-day kindergarten.

A survey of prospective 2014-2015 kindergarten families in Edina indicated 91 percent wanted all-day instruction.

School leaders in other metro schools that have conducted similar survey work report that most kindergarten families prefer an all-day format.

State law gives schools flexibility in deciding what kind of kindergarten classes to offer. It does stipulate, however, that schools cannot declare a child truant if their parent wants them to attend a half-day when a district only offers all-day kindergarten.

Edina schools officials estimate that they will need to find additional classroom space in some of the elementarys - Concord and Cornelia for instance - to accommodate all-day kindergarten.

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