Milton-Freewater shrinks kindergarten to half day

Imminent funding cuts prompted the cost-saving move.

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MILTON-FREEWATER -- Faced with deepening cuts in funding from the state, the Milton-Freewater School District is scaling back its kindergarten classes from full-day to half-day programs.

All children entering kindergarten for the 2010-11 school year at Grove, Freewater and Ferndale elementary schools will attend school in the mornings only.

The move is expected to save the district by cutting an afternoon bus run, and the hours to staff the program into the afternoon, said Leslie Lovell, spokesman for the Umatilla-Morrow Education Service District, which serves Milton-Freewater.

Lovell said there were no plans to allow parents to pay out-of-pocket for a full-day option. He did not have specifics on the hours of the new classes, and said more details would be available as the Milton-Freewater School District reopens Tuesday following the holiday.

Oregon does not require full-day kindergarten, but the Milton-Freewater has been offering a full-day program the last three years. But imminent cuts to funding of local districts at the state level prompted the cost-saving move to preserve other district programs and retain staff.

"Financing a full-day kindergarten program during this time is just not possible," said Superintendent Marilyn McBride in a statement.

Families should receive information on start and dismissal times in early August, according to the news release. School offices will reopen from summer break Aug. 6 for families who still need to register, or to answer additional questions.

The Milton-Freewater School District administrative office, which is open during the summer, is located at 1020 S. Mill St. For more information, contact McBride at 541-938-3551.

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