Half-day kindergarten could help close school budget gap


Liverpool Central School District

is looking at kindergarten as a way to save money in next year's budget.

Jan and Thomas DiGiorgio were looking forward to this fall when their daughter Nina could start kindergarten. The couple currently pays $800 each month for child care and were hoping their budget would get some breathing room when their daughter started school. The DiGiorgio's weren't happy to hear that the Liverpool School Board would be talking about cutting kindergarten back to half days.

"For us to have to pay more money out of pocket to pay for these people to not get the proper education is not fair to anybody," said Thomas DiGiorgio.

The Liverpool School District is facing a grim financial picture. Federal stimulus funds are going away and state aid is not expected to make up the difference. Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns' proposed budget is due to the school board on February 27th and the district estimates they could save more than $750,000 a year if they cut back to half day kindergarten.

"There isn't a fiscal side of the operation now that we can't afford to look at. So it needs to be discussed. Where the board is going to come down, I have no idea. I couldn't honestly tell you," said Liverpool School Board President Donald Cook.

The DiGiorgio's say cutting back kindergarten would just shift the burden to parents and would undercut their child's education

"It's great they're trying to figure out their budget but what about all of the parents involved and their budget? We're just working people," said Jan DiGiorgio.

Liverpool has also been looking at closing down an elementary school at some point in the future. In a report to the board, Superintendent Johns said the district may need to look at closing a school this year in order to balance the budget.