I’m saddened to report that last night the East Penn School Board defeated the plan to offer the community full day kindergarten, by a vote of 4-5. I voted in favor of the plan, along with Ken Bacher, Paul Champagne, and Alan Earnshaw. Voting against the plan were Carol Allen, Chuck Ballard, Chris Donatelli, Rebecca Heid, and Wally Vinovskis.
Some of the school board members who defeated the plan gave no reasons at all for their vote. Others gave differing reasons, including raising concerns about the proposal that I share. Nothing in the discussion, however, changed my own view that full day kindergarten had benefits that far outweighed its drawbacks, was sorely needed in our rapidly changing community, and was affordable to district taxpayers. (I made my views on these issues public well in advance of the meeting, which you can review here.)
What You Can Do
I remain optimistic about our East Penn schools and committed to promoting and improving public education that serves the common good. This won’t be the last important issue to come before the school board. Regardless of your feelings about full day kindergarten, if you would like to have a greater voice in the direction of our schools, I encourage you to:
- Email board members to let your views be known. You can email every member of the board at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Say a few words about issues that are important to you at a school board meeting (the schedule is here). You don’t have to speak very long (the limit is 3 minutes), or even prepare in advance. Time is set aside at the very beginning of each meeting for such comments, so you don’t have to stay long if you don’t want to. I would note that only two or three people did this on the full day kindergarten proposal over the course of the more than a year that the plan was developed, presented, and discussed in the district.
- Educate yourself about school board candidates at each election. Elections have consequences, particularly at the local level. If you like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or subscribe to my newsletter, you will get information on all school board candidates in East Penn in upcoming elections. More immediately, I would also invite you to a Meet the Candidate’s night being sponsored by Let’s Play Books in Emmaus on November 2nd, from 6:30-8:00pm. Drop in and chat with the people who are making the decisions about the future of our district.