It's no secret that many parents in Brick would prefer the township offer full day kindergarten classes.
It might save on day care or after-care costs, but it would come at a cost of higher tax bills.
There are no easy answers, but school officials have calculated just how much it would cost for the district to offer full day classes.
In order to offer full day kindergarten, the district would have to hire 14 new teachers, plus a part-time teacher at a cost of $983,000 in salaries and benefits, when calculating the new hires according to current union contracts. A total of 32 teachers would be needed in order to have enough staff to adhere to state rules on class sizes – essentially, 21 students per class.
Savings could come, however, if the district were to close the Primary Learning Center on Chambers Bridge Road and move kindergarten classes back to the various elementary schools around town.
Currently, all kindergarten classes are held at the former strip mall, and students begin attending their local elementary schools when they reach the first grade.
Closing the Primary Learning Center, or PLC, would save money that could be used to hire the extra teachers, Business Administrator James Edwards said at a recent Board of Education meeting.
The district could shed an administrator, as well as custodial staff and the overall costs of running the PLC. There would be no additional transportation costs by moving classes back to elementary schools, Edwards said.
There's one problem, however.
"We don't have enough room for all of these students," said Superintendent Walter Hrycenko.
The answer would come by moving administrative offices to mobile trailers, but that would come at a cost of renting or buying the trailers.
"Obviously, if we do this … we would have to go back to music and art on a cart," said Hrycenko, since existing classroom space would have to converted to accommodate kindergarten-only.
Still, the overall cost of adding full kindergarten would come at about $715,000 per year.
"Everyone agrees, philosophically, that full-day kindergarten is a great program and would get our kids off on the right foot," Hrycenko said.