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There's a little extra excitement to the start of a new school year, as Guilford implements, for the first time ever, a full-day kindergarten program.
School Superintendent Paul Freeman said, "We've been working on it [full-day kindergarten] for the past few years. Now that day is finally here.''
Guilford schools open for classes today, Thursday, Aug. 28.
The kindergarten push began when a small group of parents initiated a grassroots effort to push educators to implement the program.
The group campaigned throughout the fall of 2013 and winter of 2014, with about 50 showing at a public hearing on the budget in January. They received more than 400 signatures on an online petition.
This support, along with reductions in other areas of the budget, were key to getting all-day kindergarten in Guilford beginning this September, Freeman said.
The program will cost about $460,000, though it would be offset by reductions in transportation and special education costs.
Educators said that while the Board of Education was already mulling full-day kindergarten, the outpouring of support for the program from the community helped.
"And,'' Freeman reiterated, "now that day is here, we're ready and excited about it.''