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School budget considered in Merrimack, along with all-day kindergarten

Union Leader Correspondent

December 06. 2017 10:59PM

MERRIMACK — School administrators have opted not to place funding for full-day kindergarten into the proposed budget, however the school board may consider a proposal that would allow voters to decide if full-day kindergarten should be offered.

Superintendent Marjorie Chiafery is recommending a new school budget of $74,833,856, an increase of nearly $580,000 over the existing budget. Her proposal was introduced to the school board on Monday.

“The major goal for the administration for the 2018-2019 budget was the proposal to provide full-day kindergarten for five-year-old children in Merrimack,” Chiafery wrote in her proposed budget plan to the board.

Half-day kindergarten has been offered by the local school district since 2005, according to Chiafery, who said kindergarten teachers have expressed the desire for full-day kindergarten as a way to provide more learning opportunities and access to arts, music and more.

A task force was developed to study the staffing needs and space requirements for full-day kindergarten, she said.

“After reviewing the cost for a fluid kindergarten program and its recurring cost, the administration elected not to include it in the operation budget,” she wrote in her proposal. “The board could decide to propose full-day kindergarten for the 2018 warrant, or postpone the proposal for an outlying year.”

Chiafery is also recommending several staff changes within the district, in part because of declining enrollment numbers.

According to her proposal, two full-time teaching positions at the middle school will be eliminated — a social studies position and a science position.

In addition, 1.5 teaching positions will be eliminated at the elementary level.

She is also suggesting that an additional computer technician be hired, and that an existing part-time language arts coordinator and part-time math coordinator become full-time positions, states the plan.

Education Merrimack

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