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Parents In Summit, N.J. May Have To Pay For Full-Day Kindergarten

Under A Proposal Up For A Vote Next Week, Parents Would Shell Out $5,500
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SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — One New Jersey town is proposing full-day kindergarten — at a price.

As CBS 2′s Vanessa Murdock reported Friday, full-day kindergarten is not a new concept, with 74 percent of school districts in the state offering it.

But the Summit School District wants parents to foot the bill after free full-day kindergarten was voted down months ago.

“Would I pay? Yes. I wouldn’t want to pay it, but I would because I do think it’s worthwhile,” one mother said of the proposal.

Helen Griffith sends her daughter to private kindergarten.

“I feel like she’s ready for a full-day,” she told Murdock.

Under the proposal, full-day kindergarten would cost parents $5,500 a year.

“I’m all for it because I have two more daughters that are 3 and if they had full-day, I would send them,” Griffith said.

Education specialist Susan Silverstein-Kaufman said not every child is ready for it, but added full-day kindergarten is becoming a necessity.

“With today’s standards, with today’s educational system, I think the more time kids can spend in school, the better off they are,” Silverstein-Kaufman said.

It allows for more individualized, one-on-one instruction, she added.

“Personally, I would pay. I think it’s important enough to pay. However, I understand that that’s not possible for every parent,” Silverstein-Kaufman told Murdock.

Some parents think paying for public education creates a situation of the haves and have-nots.

“It certainly does, yeah. And those families maybe could have subsidized opportunities, that would be ideal,” Julie Murawski told Murdock.

The Summit proposal would cover the cost for 25 percent of parents who can’t afford to pay. Students would be selected for the full-day kindergarten by lottery, Murdock reported.

“I think a full day is what children should be in at that age,” parent Pari Chang said. “I wish it was covered by the Township but it wasn’t, so we did what we had to do.”

The proposed fee-based full day of kindergarten will go up for vote next Thursday.

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