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School board approves first step in offering pre-K

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Policy 3100, recommended by the Montana School Boards Association, would allow the district to enroll students under 5 in exceptional circumstances. PHOTO BY ELEMENT5 DIGITAL ON UNSPLASH

EBS STAFF

BIG SKY – The Big Sky School District School Board on Dec. 14 advanced a measure that if passed would create a pre-K program.

The five board members voted unanimously to approve the first reading of Policy 3100, recommended by the Montana School Boards Association, which would allow the district to enroll students under 5 in exceptional circumstances and still collect full ANB, or average number belonging, government funding for those students.

Exceptional circumstances defined by the board include a public health emergency or other community disaster; the absence of available early childhood education opportunities in the community leading to learning loss; and a disparity of access to early childhood education caused by the cost-prohibitive nature that leads to learning loss or lack of school readiness.

This policy would essentially establish programming for students aged 4 to prepare for kindergarten, according to BSSD Superintendent Dustin Shipman.

The board will again review the policy at their Jan. 11 meeting and, if no further changes are made, the board can officially adopt 3100 as a BSSD policy.

“We are thrilled to explore the option of offering Pre-K for 4-year-old children based on MTSBA policy 3100,” wrote Board Chair Loren Bough in an email to EBS. “We feel this can be a ‘win-win’ for [the] community, parents, Big Sky School District and most importantly for the children.”  

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