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Editorial: All-day K will be worth the work

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When Sen. Greg Clausen was elected last fall it was clear education would be a focus. The former Rosemount High School principal has experience in the area, and he knows how important a good education is.

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One of his focuses was state funding for all-day kindergarten. He authored a bill that passed near the end of the session. State funding will start in the 2014 school year for districts that want to take advantage.

That is good news. All-day kindergarten will not appeal to all parents, but there is evidence it makes a difference for students. Several years of results on first-grade assessments in District 196 have shown that students who were in full-day kindergarten classes performed better than students who attended only half the day.

Both the Farmington School District and Independent School District 196 have shown support for the idea of expanding their all-day kindergarten offerings, but that will not be easy. It takes space, for one thing. And space is not easy to come by. In District 196, estimates suggest 85 percent or more of students will take advantage of the new kindergarten offering. The Farmington district has estimated it will need an additional two kindergarten classrooms per elementary building to meet needs.

There are plenty of questions to answer, and they will not always be easy. They could involve shifting students from one school to another, at least for their kindergarten year. They could involve redrawing boundaries, which is rarely popular.

Figuring it all out will take time and it will take effort. We are encouraged, though, that both districts are prepared to make it work. We think it will be good for students.

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