Dear Reading Community,
In September, 2012, the Reading School Committee voted unanimously to support the transition to publicly funded full day kindergarten once adequate and permanent space could be identified. This decision was based on the increased need for full day kindergarten in our community, the growing research that supports full day kindergarten for all students, and the fact that over 200 communities in Massachusetts now offer publicly funded full day kindergarten. As a result of those discussions, the Reading Public Schools has been investigating different space options to address the growing programmatic needs of our preschool and kindergarten students. As part of this process, an Early Childhood Education Center Working Group, consisting of community leaders, educators, parents, and citizens was formed last October to identify, review, and analyze over 20 different options to address these needs and the growing space needs of our school district. A recommendation was made to the Reading School Committee at their March 10th meeting.
On March 24, the Reading School Committee, upon recommendation of the Working Group, voted to accept the option of building an early education childhood center on the Reading Memorial High School parking lot adjacent to the William E. Endslow Fine and Performing Arts Center. This option was the most feasible for a variety of reasons including educational benefit, cost effectiveness, community value, and site availability.
At April Town Meeting, Town Meeting members will vote on a proposal to appropriate $485,000 for a design study for this option. Between now and April Town Meeting, the Reading Public Schools will be holding community information sessions to educate the community on this proposal. At the sessions, we will discuss why we need additional educational space, the value of Full Day Kindergarten, the current space needs at our schools, how we address the issues currently, the different options that were studied, and the long term costs of an early childhood center.
The dates and times for the sessions are listed below. All sessions will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Coolidge Multipurpose Room, unless otherwise noted.
April 2 (6:30 p.m.)
April 8 (6:30 p.m.)
April 14 (6:30 p.m.)
April 22 (10:00 a.m.)
April 22 (6:30 p.m.)
Resource materials will be found on the Reading Public School District website (http://www.edline.net/pages/ReadingPublicSchools) after April 2nd.
We encourage you to attend one of these sessions and learn more about this important topic. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Reading Public Schools Administrative Offices at 781-944-5800.
John F. Doherty, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools