KENMORE, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Ken-Ton School District will be expanding its pre-kindergarten program to include an all-day option beginning in September, Superintendent Sabatino Cimato announced Friday.
"What COVID has taught us is that the schools, more than ever before, need to be the center of every community," Cimato said. "This includes programming as well as facilities. With this historic expansion of our UPK program, we are investing in early childhood education. With this concept in mind, that our facilities must be the center at every community, we are electing to house this expansion at our historic Hamilton building."
Hamilton Elementary was one of three schools in the Ken-Ton district that closed in 2016 due to the district's declining enrollment projections. Today, long-term enrollment projections show an average growth of 1.2% each year through 2030. The school will be reopened exclusively for Pre-K students.
Families that have already registered their kids in pre-K are guaranteed half-day programming but can request to have their kids switch from a half-day to a full-day. The district is asking parents to submit their change request no later than June 18.
Ken-Ton Schools said they will incur a minimal cost for Pre-K thanks to state funding and a partnership with the YMCA. Cimato said this is only the first step.
"This transition will enable us to explore the feasibility and sustainability of growing our programming through our district," Cimato said. "This past week at the board meeting, I discussed structural foundation that will serve as the base for future growth. Hamilton being open, even in this new form of hosting the YMCA UPK program, positions us as a district to take a deeper dive into future potential and possibilities."
District officials on Friday also celebrated $75 million in capital projects, including a new artificial turf field at Kenmore East High School.