Mukilteo schools turn down state funding for all-day kindergarten

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MUKILTEO — School districts across the state have been allocated $90 million to fund all-day kindergarten, but in Mukilteo the funds were turned down because of lack of classroom space.

kinder1The state allotted $1.6 million to the Mukilteo School District to serve approximately 653 incoming kindergarten students, but district officials said there is no space on its five elementary campuses to operate all-day kindergarten classes and it rejected the money.

Laurie George’s son Quinn will start first grade in a few weeks. Last year, he went to full day kindergarten at Mukilteo Elementary School.

“He went from reading nothing to reading everything. His comprehension was amazing. He would come home talking about volcanoes and dinosaurs,” George said.

Full-day kindergarten is a hot commodity in Mukilteo.  Parents have traditionally camped out to claim a spot for their child.  Laurie was one of those moms but now, she’s disappointed to learn her daughter won’t have the same opportunity.

“Why can’t she have the same experience her brother did in the same school? That’s the frustrating thing,” George said.

The school district announced in May it was shutting down the all-day kindergarten program at Mukilteo Elementary, and has scaled back the total number of full-day kindergarten classes from nine to three.

“We would have loved to have the money, but we just have no place to put the kids,” district spokesman Andy Muntz said.

Muntz said voters have turned down construction bonds in 2006 and 2008, money that would have been used to build a new elementary school.

“We were telling people our forecast was showing we would continue to grow and we would need added space for these kids those bond measures didn’t pass,” Muntz said.

Muntz said the school board is considering whether to bring another construction bond to voters in February 2014.

Statewide, nearly 18,000 more kindergartners will be attending school all day this fall due to the new funding.

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