By Alex Malm
The Budget Committee received a briefing from School Board Chair, Bob Slater, during the Oct. 26 meeting about the proposed kindergarten expansion project.
Slater explained that they had a Kindergarten Committee begin about a year and a half ago that looked at whether or not they should propose all day kindergarten, or just adding on to the building.
“Which showed just the lack of education and services that they get on a half day program,” Slater said.
He said they learned that only a handful of towns, including Londonderry, don’t provide all day kindergarten in the state.
It was also noted by Slater that one thing they did was put together a building committee together, so they could have a group of community members who are in various construction and other relevant fields, in order to vet the plans.
He said the committee met several times over about six weeks and came back to the School Board with their presentation. Slater said the committee felt the numbers looked good, and they recommended moving forward with putting both Phase 1A and 1B of the Moose Hill expansion project on the ballot at the same time, which would create more space and allow for full day kindergarten.
Slater stated that they are putting a lot of information together for the public “to hit the streets in the next month or so,” in order to get the word out about the proposal.
Slater noted that as part of the plans, they would be able to add more classrooms in the future if needed, based on the footprint.
One question that was asked was how many more students they get between kindergarten and first grade and if that increase would be enough to fill the seats in the expanded Moose Hill.
Slater explained that they are waiting for the final results of their enrollment study, and they could be losing a number of students to other schools that offer full day kindergarten, or don’t enroll at all.
Another question raised was how confident the School Board and district are about the proposed budget estimates for the project.
Slater noted that they have a 8% contingency for the overall budget and they had it thoroughly vetted by the building committee and other experts.
He told the committee that if the project is approved this year, it would likely be completed for the fall of 2026.
The School Board and Budget Committee are expected to meet for a budget workshop meeting on Nov. 21.