APS board votes to table moving Kindergarten

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(ABC 6 News) – The Austin Public School board has chosen to table their vote on moving kindergarten out of the Woodson building.

Woodson teachers say they’re relieved it was tabled. It was a long but very respectful discussion. The school board room was packed with teachers and supporters from Woodson, something the school board said they deeply appreciated

The proposal is to move each kindergartner out of the Woodson building and in to their neighborhood elementary school.

Then early childhood programming would be moved into the building.

RELATED: APS considering dissolving Woodson Kindergarten Center

The district says that all the elementary schools, with the exception of Southgate, have plenty of room for the extra students.

A facilities study shows that the move would save the district 500 thousand dollars per year in personnel and facilities costs.

Superintendent Page says the move will decrease the number of transitions young students have to make as they move through the district which could help them build community.

“This is really difficult because we’re asking to fix something that’s not broken. As a matter of fact it’s not just ‘not broken’ it’s a place of excellence,” Board member Cece Kroc said.

But opponents of the switch say that Woodson is highly specialized for the specific developmental needs of kindergartners.

And they arent sure they’ll be able to replicate that same quality of education in the elementary schools.

These specialties range from outdoor science curriculum to shorter playground equipment.

“I was surprised and saddened by the speed and the lack of community feedback in the decision making process. It seems out of character for the board. I feel that such an important decision demands greater responsibility and care for the hear and soul of our community,” Michael Page said.

The school board tasked Superintendent Joey Page with developing a plan to make sure kindergartners would get the same quality programming in elementary schools.

The board says they’ll discuss this again in about two weeks.