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Fargo school district may start full-day kindergarten

Fargo, ND – The idea of full-day kindergarten is being discussed by the Fargo Board of Education.

Lowell Wolfe is the administrator for community relations. He says the board is discussing their long-range
facility plan and full-day kindergarten would mean 20 more classrooms needed somewhere in the district.

Wolfe says studies being done around the country show full-day kindergarten has a significant impact on a student's academic
progress.

"What we're finding though is that North Dakota continues at it's same level--but other states which have incorporated full-day kindergarten
and six states that have also expanded into ages three through five are making considerable gains. And in some cases they are passing us in
academic achievement scores."

Anita Decker is the director of school approval and accreditation for the Department of Public Instruction. She says for a school district to go with full-day
kindergarten will increase costs because the state foundation aid will cover only half of the program.

"I think DPI is supportive of kindergarten--however a district decides to offer it. The funding, however, is in state statute. And that would require change
if they wanted funding for full-day kindergarten."

Decker says kindergarten is valued in North Dakota but it's not required. The Fargo Board of Education is looking at a timeline of 10 to 15 years until the program
is in place if the plan is accepted.