Faced with the choice of either refusing funding for full-day Kindergarten to some students in September or coming up with a fair system to provide Kindergarten to just 194 of approximately 300 kids in the Sea to Sky School District, the district came up with another solution.
A parent came up with an idea to offer half-day Kindergarten to all students in the district from September to January, then switch over to full-day for the rest of the year. No schools or students would be left out and it wouldn't cost any more. Full-day kindergarten would then be fully funded for all students in the province in September 2011.
However, when the district proposed the idea to the province they were told it wasn't possible. Rather than accept that answer, the school district contacted MLA Joan McIntyre who spoke to education minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid on their behalf. As well, the school district sent another letter to the ministry with more details on how the program would work.
That was in late January and according to school district superintendent Dr. Rick Erickson, the ministry has yet to reply.
However, he is concerned that the answer will be the same, based on the minister's response at a meeting of the B.C. School Trustees' Association over the weekend.
"We have not received a letter of reply yet, although we got a pronouncement through the media today," he said on Monday. "The provincial school trustees association had a provincial council meeting and according to the story the Minister of Education said it was too late to organize classes in that manner.
"The first thing is that we've already organized full-day classes for the current year (on a paid basis). The second thing is that it's not too late to register because we haven't registered any kids yet. We're holding off until March until this can be settled, we don't want to register kids under one set of circumstances and then have those circumstances change."
Erickson called the ministry on Monday seeking clarification from the minister and to ask when they could expect a response.
The board is still unsure how it would phase in all-day Kindergarten in the district with only partial funding. They may follow other boards around the province in refusing funding.