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The Starpoint School Board Monday agreed to full-day kindergarten for the 2000-01 school year in a 7-0 vote.

The matter has been kicked about in the past few months, even in the past few years, but the current School Board as well as the superintendent said they wanted to commit themselves to giving the pupils a full day of classes.

"It is a program that is absolutely necessary for this district," said School Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan. With a current count of 155 pupils and eight teachers in the program, he said the district is anticipating 195 entering kindergarten next year.

He recommended nine kindergarten teaching positions in the fall, only one more than the current staff.

The cost: about $220,000, which will be offset by a $64,000 savings because the district will no longer have to provide a mid-day transportation run. One potential setback is that 5-year-olds will be sitting on school buses with high school students.

The state will kick in $2,000 per pupil on a onetime basis when the district goes to full-day kindergarten, said Whelan.

"The main advantage to a full-day kindergarten program is the excellent start it will provide children in many of the skills they need," he added.

In another matter, speakers at the meeting held some different views on a proposed $57 million reconstruction project.

"The state is coming up with all these mandates, but I'd like to see them coming up with more money," said Stephen Labuszewski of Shawnee Road, Wheatfield.

Wendy Richards of Bartz Road, Lockport, said she was concerned that there are not enough classrooms in the proposed additions. She added that she did not like to see class sizes of 30 in the schools.

"I would like to see that class size down," she said.

Gary R. Ashe of Upper Mountain Road, Lockport, asked: "How are you going to handle the children during the transition?"

He added that he was concerned that the administrators might use trailers to conduct classes during the transition period.

Whelan said that he was not exactly sure how it would work but that the administration office would move into a trailer before any students would.

One man said he thought the School Board was going for too much in improvements with the proposal.

"As I've quickly gone over this, I've seen an awful lot of fluff in here," said Glenn R. Christman of Beach Ridge Road, Lockport.

A few of the other speakers said they were all for the improvements.

Those in attendance heard more about the proposal during a public presentation of the project.

The district plans to add 15,325 square feet to the campus and to reconstruct the rest of the existing buildings. As proposed, the plan would mean a new high school and reconstruction and improvements to the existing complex.

Board members have said they wanted to get voter approval before the expiration of a state Education Department June 30 deadline to get 10 percent more in state aid for the project.

The project would receive $50.5 million in state aid if voters approve it before June 30. After that, however, the district would only receive $44.8 million. More important is that the local share of the project would be $6.5 million if passed before June 30 or more than $12 million if passed after that.

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