The may have met with opposition to its decision to lay off teachers and staff, but a unanimous vote in favor of all-day kindergarten drew applause from audience members Monday night.
The board OK’d a contract with Wight Construction for the renovations, additions and combination thereof needed to outfit all 12 elementary school buildings to accommodate the program.
On Monday, Valley View awarded a contract in the amount of $12,320,590 to the Darien-based company. The new contract includes a prior $833,300 pact with the company for the completion of site work at the campuses.
The contract also includes two new add-ons: toilet rooms for six campuses and $95,622 in technology infrastructure upgrades, according to Assistant Superintendent for Adminsitrative Services Gary Grizaffi.
District documents outline plans to install the following toilet rooms at Valley View campuses, at a cost of $288,664:
- : 2
- : 1
- : 1
- : 2
- : 1
- : 1
The all-day kindergarten program is part of efforts to reallocate resources to the primary grades, according to Superintendent James Mitchem — a move he has said will lay the foundation for students’ academic careers and eliminate the need for remediation later.
"This is a big step," board vice president Rick Gougis said.
Assistant Superintendent for Education Venus Smith said the program will mean hiring 20 to 24 kindergarten teachers.
Wight has assured the district that the campuses will be ready in time to launch the program next fall.
“The contractors have told us they can get this done by the 25th of August,” board president Steve Quigley said. “I guess we’re going to find out.”
By law, Smith said, the district must continue to offer half-day kindergarten to parents who choose it.
The renovations and additions will be funded by shifting money from the district’s working cash fund to the site construction fund, Grizaffi said.
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In addition to the new digs for all-day kindergarten, Valley View campuses will get technology updates over the next two years — to the tune of $2.1 million for fiscal year 2013, Grizaffi said.
The cost would break down to $158.50 per student, affecting 4,085 middle school students and 8,158 preschool through fifth-grade students.
The plans include infrastructure updates, computer upgrades and a move to a middle school math curriculum that includes interactive technology, according to district documents.
Grizaffi said the changes will put Valley View “ahead of the curve,” especially when it comes to wireless infrastructure, and could pave the way for the use of tablet computers by students.
“We believe that mobile computing is here to stay,” he told the board.
Click here for a full list of planned upgrades and improvements.