CHATHAM, NJ - Approximately 20 Chatham moms from Washington Avenue School voiced their concerns about anticipated crowded kindergarten classes during the public portion of the Chatham Board of Education meeting on Monday night.
What prompted the turnout was the decision to cut down the kindergarten sections at Washington from four to three because of declining enrollment. If it stays as is, there will be two morning classes of kindergarten and one afternoon session at Washington, with about 25 kids in each class.
Washington School mother Nikki Cyganovich, who spoke on behalf of the Washington moms (see video below), brought up the old wound of full-day kindergarten, which had been voted down by the taxpayers through a previous referendum. She also noted the potential 65 percent increase in the amount of students in one class if another section is not added.
Right now, there will be two kindergarten sections at Milton Avenue School of 25 and 22 students, and four at Southern Boulevard School with a total of 85 students divided among those sections.
"Every year, our number of sections changes, so we're also going from three to two at Milton," Dr. Michael LaSusa, Chatham superintendent, said. "The number of sections, depends on the number of students. If we have more students enroll, we would probably add a section. It depends."
Dr. LaSusa talked about the possibility of adding another section, depending on registration. A final decision would be made in the second week of August.
Washington School mom Laura Jones had selected the afternoon session at Washington in hopes that there would be fewer students in her daughter's class.
Tara Field took her son out of the full-day kindergarten at St. Patrick School to attend Washington, but is concerned about the possible crowded classroom size
Amanda Feeman, co-chair of Chatham's Safe Routes to School Committee, was watching the broadcast of the BOE meeting when she heard the Washington School mothers speaking. That brought her to the meeting to show her support for the moms and advocate again for full-day kindergarten. Feeman sends her children to private kindergarten because Chatham does not offer full-day kindergarten (see video below).
Superintendent LaSusa, who answered email questions from the Washington School mothers before the meeting, addressed the questions brought up in the public portion of the BOE meeting. He noted that it wasn't unusual to have 25 children in a single classroom (see video below).
There is still time to add another kindergarten section at Washington, depending on registration through the middle of August.
"I remain hopeful," Cyganovich said.