District 97 estimates its strategic plan will cost more than $6 million to implement over the next five years.

The amount is based on estimates from administrators and staff. The biggest ticket item is all-day kindergarten at nearly $3 million. Most of that amount, as well as for smaller ticket items, is for personnel, administrators said.

Officials stress the total price tag for the plan is a raw estimate that could change based on various funding sources, including state and federal aid or a possible referendum.

As part of its implementation process, the district has mapped out a five-year implementation timeline. The current year is the first full year for implementation.

Estimates were presented at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Some members expressed concern that the raw estimate shows mostly cost increases and few savings.

Administrators said no program changes would take place without school board approval. Cost savings, they add, could come from reallocating current resources.

“These are estimates and we know we’ll have to proceed cautiously,” said Dist. 97 Supt. Constance Collins. “We know that the plans will have to be developed, and we’ll have teams who will be working on this. So in our taking a look and giving a rough estimate, the cost could be somewhat higher or somewhat lower as we move forward.”

Collins noted that costs were difficult to predict in the last three-years of implementation.

The district estimates spending around $200,000 in this year’s budget for strategic planning, and some programs were already budgeted for this school year.

All-day kindergarten won’t begin until next school year. Some initiatives, such as professional development programs to improve student achievement, are being implemented this year, administrators said.

According to the district’s estimate, first-year costs for the plan total roughly $372,000, and around $472,000 in year two.

The cost balloons in year three to approximately $2.3 million.

All-day kindergarten is estimated at $100,000 next year and about $1.7 million in year three.

Another larger cost of roughly $490,000 would increase instruction time at the middle school in core subjects from 50 to 60 minutes per day on average. That initiative won’t begin until year four in the 2010-11 school year.

The goal of expanding student involvement in activities such as art, music and dance is estimated to cost around $500,000 and will also be implemented in year four.

The district’s plan, which was adopted in August, has more than 70 goals expected to be implemented in the next five years. Some of those goals, however, incur no costs.

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