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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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No room for full-day kindergarten at some schools

Two elementary schools in Mead and one in Central Valley turned down state money for full-day kindergarten programs because they don’t have enough room.

At the end of the latest school year, Washington had 485 elementary schools that offered full-day kindergarten for at least some of their students. Budget increases approved by the Legislature have prompted school districts around the state to expand that program into 358 more schools this fall, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction reported this week.

But not all districts are able to take advantage of the money this school year, which goes first to schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Six districts that qualified for the program had to turn down money the state was offering. Farwell and Brentwood Elementary in the Mead School District don’t have the capacity yet to handle full-day kindergarten, which would mean an extra classroom in each. It already has full-day kindergarten at Shiloh Hills Elementary and will accept the money to expand it at Evergreen Elementary this fall.

“We have to figure out how to create the space,” said Jared Hoadley, executive director of student services. The district has a committee studying grade school boundaries this fall, and could purchase portable classroom buildings to add extra room for kindergarten.

Space also was a problem at Greenacres Elementary in the Central Valley School District. It won’t offer full-day kindergarten this year but has plans to renovate and build extra capacity with a project starting next March. That would be ready by the 2017-18 school year, said Marla Nunberg, the district’s director of communications.

CV already had full-day kindergarten at Broadway, Opportunity and Progress elementary schools and will offer it at Adams, McDonald, South Pines and University elementary schools this fall with help from the state program.

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