Update on Progress to Create Pre-K Program

Students enjoy craft together

Schalmont would like to share an update with our community about the progress we’ve made towards creating a Pre-K program for our district.

We first want to thank our Pre-K Advisory Committee, a group of 30+ parents, guardians, educators, and other community members who met eight times in the past year to discuss all the benefits and challenges of creating a program.

“From our very first meeting, our community showed great interest in a Pre-K program,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Reardon. “We shared a survey with our community and found the same interest. Our committee has done a wonderful job exploring not only the benefits for our community’s children but also the challenges involved in creating and financing a Pre-K program that truly is accessible to all.”

Our Pre-K Advisory Committee will continue its work but we want to share some points of consensus so far.

The earliest Schalmont could start a Pre-K program would be the 2025-2026 school year. If Schalmont creates a Pre-K program, we want to ensure it’s built for long-term success. Decisions on operating hours, staffing needs, and curriculum as well as logistics like breakfast/lunches, furniture, and arrival/dismissal plans will take time to be done right.

Pre-K would be a universal, full-day program. Our community made it clear through our committee and community survey that they desire a full-day program, although a half-day option may be possible. The program would be open to all families with preschool-aged children in our district.

Woestina Elementary School would be used for the program. The building and grounds remain in excellent condition and would need minimal work to reopen for a Pre-K program. The school is also set up well for young learners with classrooms designed for young children.

Cost is the largest challenge. While Schalmont would receive some additional state aid, it would not offset the total cost. A Pre-K program involves a significant staffing commitment, including teachers, teaching assistants, school nurse, administration, clerical, security, and others (our committee agreed it should be staffed by Schalmont employees, not contracted out). Schalmont wants to ensure adding Pre-K doesn’t impact opportunities for our K-12 students nor create a burden for our taxpayers.

We will share more updates in the months ahead as we better define what a Schalmont Pre-K program would look like and the costs involved. If you have a question, please email Dr. Reardon at treardon@schalmont.net and he would be happy to help you.