Parents express concern over extended kindergarten hours

FRESNO, California

The proposed change would mean, instead of going to school for a little over three hours, a kindergartener's day would extend to six and a half.

School officials say the move would help children perform better in school. Still, some parents have their doubts.

Thursday night's meeting at Central Unified headquarters in Northwest Fresno was standing room only. And parents didn't hold back. "It seems crazy that we're sitting here having a meeting about what might happen in a month or six months."

At issue ... whether all thirteen of the district's elementary schools should transition from a half-day kindergarten program ... to a full-day ... possibly within the next few months.

The plan is drawing a mixed response from parents. "Everybody is scared about the six, six and a half hours. I have concerns too, but you can't get everything done in three hours with thirty kids, one teacher."

"Creative thinking is not going to be fostered by putting your kindergarten child in school for two or three more hours then what they're in now."

This was the first public discussion ever held on the issue. Some parents complain they weren't informed about the proposal until they saw a story on Action News. "The superintendent has said we don't want to do this in the dark. Every decision they've made ... you guys, channel 30 broke the story. The parents had no idea."

The district did send out a letter to parents. They also posted information online.

Superintendent Mike Berg maintains they are trying to be transparent and that nothing is set in stone. "We have three options. Go full day kindergarten at some time point in time that would be part of the recommendation. Go extended day kindergarten still at some point we would recommend or quite frankly, there's a do nothing and stay the course."

The school board will be in charge of making the ultimate decision ... if it even gets to that point.

Another meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday at district headquarters ... but based on Thursday night's attendance; they're considering moving it to a bigger location.

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