Ken-Ton School District to offer free full-day, half-day Universal Pre-K

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-11 18:22:14-04

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Starting in September, parents in the KenTon school district will have the option of enrolling their children in Pre-K for either a full or half day.

The district announced Friday morning this is in partnership with the YMCA, and will be free for parents.

"To give students an even greater head start on their academic journey," said Sabatino Cimato, Ken-Ton School District Superintendent.

Ken-Ton parent Amber Lorenz tells us this couldn't have come at a better time, as COVID-19 caused a childcare crisis for many parents with young children.

"I think it's a great accommodation personally, especially for parents who may not have a flexible schedule," she said.

In the Spring of 2016, three schools in the district had to close. At that time, enrollment projections indicated a decline of one and two percent each year.

Between 2013 and 2017, district enrollment was declining by an average of 1.4 percent each year. But Cimato said enrollment is projected to grow by an average of 1.2 percent each year through the year 2030.

The district is looking to house the Pre-K expansion program at the Hamilton Elementary School on Westfall Drive.

"It makes perfect sense to utilize one of those closed elementary buildings and rejuvenate it and bring kids back," said Peter Stuhmiller, President of Kenmore Teachers Association.

The district said they're placing more than ten signs throughout KenTon, and the Y is notifying families as well.