Moorhead Daycares Competing with All-Day Kindergarten - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Moorhead Daycares Competing with All-Day Kindergarten

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The Moorhead School District is welcoming its first year of full-day kindergarten classes. Most people are excited about the extra educational opportunity for the students, but some daycares will need to make major changes to accommodate the district's changes.

Kids at Bethesda All Stars Childcare Center enjoy the last of the summer days before some of them head to kindergarten by playing games. But staff members at the childcare center are trying to figure out the best options to keep everything running smoothly.

Director Kari Penas says out of 35 kids at Bethesda, eight will be taking full-day kindergarten, leaving the center financially short. She says, "The decision was made mid-year. So for our budget, we budget January 1 through December, and so it wasn't in our budgets for this calendar year."

Penas is especially concerned about the staff. "We have teachers that we've hired that will be staffing all of those hours, and so with the children not being here, we need to kind of make some changes," she says.

Other child care center directors are seeing the same thing, having to make major changes to handle the new school district plan, but even the school district is in new territory.

Dr. Lynne Kovash, Superintendent of Moorhead Public Schools, says, "Space is probably our biggest challenge, and I talked to our new teachers today and said yes you'll notice in the elementary schools we're being very creative about using spaces."

Aside from that, Dr. Kovash says hiring enough teachers, helping them adapt to a full-day program and keeping up with rising enrollment are among the district's challenges. She says, "Increasing enrollment is a wonderful problem to have, and we are working hard to make sure our students have the best facilities."

Because the funding is available starting next year from the state, Moorhead Schools decided to fund the program this year, seeing the need to advance education. It is something childcare directors around Moorhead, including Penas, agree is important. It just makes their jobs a little tougher.

Penas says, "We're going to be okay this year, but coming into the next year when it's a whole year full of budget, that's going to make the change for us."

Bethesda All Stars Childcare Center will be expanding its morning pre-school program as one of its changes to meet financial needs. It will be looking to add about 20 more kids for the program.

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