All-Day Kindergarten Program Expanded

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The Payson Unified School District's popular all-day kindergarten program will be available at all of Payson's elementary schools next year.

The Payson School Board voted 4-0 Monday to triple the size of the program from 22 students to 66 students -- 22 students at each of the district's three elementary schools. This year, the program was available only at Julia Randall Elementary School.

Tuition for the program will increase from $50 a month per student to $60 a month per student. Students will be selected by a lottery system.

Students must apply for the program at their home school, Julia Randall Elementary School Principal Sue Clark said, and students will not be allowed to transfer between schools.

Schools are currently accepting applications for their lotteries. Drawing dates will be announced later.

In related business, the school board approved an $80 a month per-student tuition for Julia Randall Elementary School's preschool peer program. Qualified preschoolers are allowed to enroll in the program for free. Nonqualified students can enroll in the program as peer role models for an $80 a month fee.

Peer role models also are chosen by random lottery drawing. Screenings to determine whether a child qualifies for the program are held at the beginning of the school year.

The board also approved new salary schedules for the district's certified and classified staff members.

The average salary increase for teachers was 3.86 percent, Payson Business Manager Bobette Sylvester said. The lowest salary step increase was $335 a year, the highest increase was $3,357 a year and the average increase was $1,092 a year, she said.

And finally, the board voted 4-0 to switch the district's medical insurance carrier from United Health, which proposed a 45 percent cost increase this year, to Blue Cross/Blue Shield, to keep costs to the district and its employees down.

The change will cost employees $611 more a year for family medical coverage. It also will mean a reduction in vision coverage and an increase in some co-pay costs.

Board member Albert Hunt was absent Monday.

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