Full Day Kindergarten Not Yet Feasible, Committee Says


BRIDGEWATER, NJ - After several meetings of the K-8 Steering Committee to focus on the implementation of full day kindergarten, it was the recommendation that the district wait until 2017 to possibly move forward.

Initial meetings in September and October focused on breaking down enrollment and the financial elements of implementing full day kindergarten.

At the Oct. 24 meeting, according to superintendent Victor Hayek, principals from each of the elementary schools presented their plans for the program’s implementation, graduating third and fourth graders and projecting enrollment levels.

Sign Up for E-News

It was determined that Hamilton Primary would be ready for full day kindergarten, as would Milltown Primary.

Van Holten Primary would need additional specials sections, and Crim Primary would possibly need to repurpose the teacher’s workroom to become a classroom. John F. Kennedy Primary would also be feasible with possibly the addition of a lunch period.

Bradley Gardens Primary had the least amount of bathrooms for classrooms, as required by state law for kindergarten classes, so at least one more would need to be built for adjoining classrooms. Additional sections of physical education would be needed, but it would be tight because the gym is also the cafeteria.

Adamsville, Hayek said, proves to be the biggest challenge because of the pre-k program, and the need for more bathrooms to accommodate kindergarten.

“We would have to move the pre-k program out, or substantially increase class sizes,” he said. “We thought about moving pre-k out of Adamsville, but that defeats the purpose, so we were thinking of creative ways to move it out and lease the space somewhere else.”

Hayek said there have also been discussions on reconfiguring the schools, making the middle school grades six through eight, the intermediate schools four and five and the primary schools kindergarten through third.

“We did realize that we were just chopping and dicing and making things complicated,” he said. “It didn’t solve much of the space problem.”

But given the projected enrollment numbers, Hayek said, it could be a possibility to plan for the implementation in September 2017 when the current third grade is in sixth grade and those school reconfigurations could be made.

“Based on the enrollment projections, BRMS would be 1,800 students, which is a possibility,” he said. “It would require some creative scheduling and utilizing all the classroom space.”

“It gives us the ability to plan for staffing over the three years, improve class size efficiency and take advantage of the time to do more detailed planning,” he added.

On Nov. 24, Hayek said, the committee met again to put a focus on the finances. Because staffing and benefits are 75 percent of the budget, he said, they determined that they can’t add full day kindergarten without severely impacting the current programs and staffing.

There is the option to ask the voters to increase the budget over the 2 percent cap to accommodate the program, but the first opportunity to do that would be November 2015, for implementation in September 2016.

Hayek said they examined some other options, including becoming a choice district to take students from other districts, accepting students from other districts for academy programs or other tuition revenue programs.

“There are two possible directions,” he said. “Either put out the second question and leave it to the voters to enable us to increase the budget, or closely monitor enrollment over the next three years and reevaluate as space opens up.”

Board president Jeffrey Brookner said he went into this process optimistic and with no intention of supporting putting the budget up for a ballot vote.

“But I have concluded that in the foreseeable future, there is no way we could pull off full day kindergarten without the second question,” he said.

The budget, Brookner said, always increases because there is a 1.3 percent increase in salaries and another 1.2 percent increase in benefits. 

“In my opinion and the committee’s opinion, unless we are talking about cutting programs, doing something drastic like that, we do not have the resources to add something huge,” he said.

No decisions have been made yet on the future of full day kindergarten implementation.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Tue, April 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Les Photos de Bernie at the Wayrick ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Tue, April 24, 9:30 AM

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Teacher Naturalist Training

Education Green

Tue, April 24, 10:00 AM

Bridgewater Public Library, Bridgewater

Bridgewater Garden Club Meeting for April 24, 2018

Home & Garden

New Jersey Association of School Librarians Urges BRRSD to Keep All Librarians

April 18, 2018

To the Editor:

The following letter was sent to the Bridgewater-Raritan school superintendent as well as members of the school board from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL).  

As the statewide organization for school library media specialists, the organization advocates for strong school library programs for all students.  NJASL is disheartened to learn that a ...

Car Fire in Wendy's Parking Lot Deemed Not Suspicious, Bridgewater Police Say

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Police responded to a car fire in the parking lot of Wendy's, on Route 22 East April 9, but the fire was not deemed suspicious, according to a report.

According to the report, an unoccupied 2003 Infinity G35 caught fire. A 2010 Honda CRV, which was parked next to it, was also damaged in the fire.

North Branch and Green Knoll fire both ...

BAM Desserts Visits SCVTHS Culinary Arts Program

April 22, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Melissa Jenkins, one of the owners of BAM Desserts in Somerset, and Chef Liz Hernandez visited the Somerset County Vocational & Technical High School (SCVTHS) culinary arts classes this week in hopes to recruit students for the growing bakery. 

Jenkins and Hernandez were looking for reliable students who were willing to learn new skills, get workplace ...

Whitehouse Wind Symphony Presents Free Concert in Somerville

April 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ - The Whitehouse Wind Symphony, a community band under the direction of Branchburg resident James P. Sheeley, Jr., will present a free concert on Sunday, April 29th at 3 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 158 West High St.

The concert will feature a wide range of selections from wind band literature both new and old, such as the overture to “Die Frau ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Bateman Bill to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 15, 2018

TRENTON, NJ - Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons.

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said Bateman.