Ellington budget passes, all-day kindergarten approved - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Ellington budget passes, all-day kindergarten approved

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Ellington votes on budget referendum that includes all-day kindergarten. (WFSB photo) Ellington votes on budget referendum that includes all-day kindergarten. (WFSB photo)
ELLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

Voters in Ellington gave the green light to full day kindergarten on Tuesday.

A town budget referendum began at 6 a.m.

On Tuesday evening, School Superintendent Scott Nicol said the budget passed by a margin of 835 'yes' votes to 414 'no' votes.

"I think there's a lot riding on this vote, as far as the full day kindergarten and getting that through the budget," said Bryan Forst, an Ellington voter.

The proposal follows a statewide trend.

In 2015, Gov. Dannel Malloy made a major case to follow that plan. He introduced a bill that would require schools to have all day kindergarten.

The extra hours and staffing would come at a great expense to districts, according to school officials.

In Ellington, it represented more than $432,000 in additional costs, which came out to more than 1 percent of the town’s proposed $55 million town budget.

However, it's something the school district has been trying to get done for 10 years.

"I'm a big supporter of it," Forst said. "It's important for the kids."

One voter told Eyewitness News that the expense is a concern, which prompted him to vote "no."

"It is an expense," said Jim Lundeberg, a voter. "But I also believe that the kids at that age, it's not going to make any difference."

Supporters of all-day kindergarten said research showed it benefited a child’s reading, math, social and emotional skills.

"I think it will give them a good head start with school," Forst said. There's a lot counting on the kids and a lot that they do now, more than they used to."

However, opponents said the difference is negligible.

"With the Quick Start programs and things like that, nationally even, it hasn't shown to do anything," Lundeberg said.

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