April 10, 2013

Kindergarten or security upgrades? For 2013-14, Gorham chooses security

Next year, funding for all-day kindergarten will be included in the budget "from the get-go," a school official says.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

GORHAM – Offering all-day kindergarten will be a priority of Gorham school officials – next year.

Additional funding for school security was a more pressing matter this year, said School Committee Chair Kyle Currier.

Next year, she said, funding for all-day kindergarten will be included in the budget "from the get-go."

It was not included in the $32.9 million budget for fiscal 2014 that the School Committee unanimously approved on Wednesday. Instead, about $300,000 was added for building improvements, including more secure entrances and security cameras, to make the schools safer.

Also, the Town Council on Tuesday approved spending $245,000 on school security projects.

The school budget, which needs approval of the council and then voters at a referendum on June 11, would raise the tax rate by 93 cents per $1,000 of valuation. That would add $186 onto the property tax bill for a $200,000 home.

Since last budget season, a group of parents has been pushing school officials to expand the district's kindergarten program from half-day to all-day.

Gorham is one of four districts in Cumberland and York counties that doesn't offer all-day kindergarten.

The district formed a committee that started meeting last fall to study the possibility of implementing the change. The committee presented a report to school officials last month that did not recommend expanding the program because of the cost, which it estimated to be $555,000 in the first year and $502,000 in subsequent years.

Darryl Wright, a member of the School Committee and the kindergarten panel, said there isn't enough time this year "to properly set up a high-quality program."

Wright said he would support setting up an implementation committee for adding the program in the 2014-2015 school year to coincide with the adoption of common core standards -- one reason all-day kindergarten supporters were pushing to expand the program.

"We're obviously disappointed," said Kelli Deveaux, one of parents in support of all-day kindergarten who attended the meeting Wednesday.

Still, another parent, Sarah Plummer, said the commitment to add the program the following year is encouraging.

"It's a big step forward," she said.


Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:



Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)