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Fair Lawn School Officials Reconsider Full-Day Kindergarten Path

The Department of Education declined to offer a grant to Fair Lawn for an expansion of Westmoreland School.

Thomas Edison School could be reopened as a full school or kindergarten center. File photo.
Thomas Edison School could be reopened as a full school or kindergarten center. File photo.
Fair Lawn school officials are looking at new options for how to eventually institute full-day kindergarten across the district after state officials did not offer a grant for an expansion at Westmoreland School.

Members of the school board approved this week a new goal to "complete an analysis of options" and also a proposal from LAN Associates to examine potentially reopening Edison School as an elementary school or kindergarten center.

"We want to keep the idea of [full-day] kindergarten alive," board President Michael Rosenberg said.

Other options could include the use of modular classrooms — not trailers, prefabricated buildings — he said. The expansion of Westmoreland also isn't totally out of the question yet, but they would need to find funding, possibly some from different state grants, likely some through a bond referendum, according to Superintendent Bruce Watson.

Reopening Edison School as a full school would also come with costs. Currently, it is home to the district's central offices and some special education classes, which would likely need to be moved. They would also need a new principal and other staff.

"At this point, we're exploring all our options and we're going through it to make some cost evaluations," Watson said. "You want to do it the most cost-efficient way, and obviously a way that makes sense."

While the space issue remains to be figured out, the district is still working toward full-day kindergarten, Watson said. The district's new BSI expanded kindergarten program started this fall, providing students in need of extra instruction with two hours and 15 minutes of additional math and literacy work each day.

"So far, the feedback is very, very positive," Watson said.
Martine N. December 16, 2013 at 10:01 AM
This is GREAT news! I would like to thank those "newcomers" to the board, Jeff Klein and Mark Spindel, who really made this their #1 priority (as they said they would in their campaigns). I know that Mr. Klein specifically has brought up this topic at numerous board meetings. Prior to Mr. Klein and Mr. Spindel's election the current board (with the exception of a few) pretty much decided that since the idea of full day kindergarten had failed once it was never going to work. This is why sometimes we need a little change!

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