Under the three-year plan, space would have been available without portables because the sixth-graders would be moved from elementary schools to middle schools as the ninth-graders are moved into the new Jefferson High School addition, Hetzel said.
Board officials approved putting out for bid a new cafeteria food service line as part of the high school expansion so the custom-built item will be ready for the cafeteria renovation this summer.
All-day kindergarten was mandated by the state in 1996 and school officials have sought waivers since then because there were not enough classroom spaces available.
Jefferson County Superintendent David W. Markoe said he believes the portables will be needed in the future anyway because of the county's growth, so they are worth the additional expense in the two-year phase-in plan.
Under the two-year plan, all-day kindergarten would begin in the 1998-1999 school year for students at Blue Ridge, North Jefferson, C.W. Shipley and Ranson elementary schools. It would begin in the 1999-2000 school year for students at South Jefferson, T.A. Lowery, Page Jackson and Shepherdstown elementary schools.
Jefferson County Board of Education President Peter H. Dougherty said he favors the two-year phase-in plan, but is concerned about a bill in Charleston, W.Va., that would change the way property planned for development is appraised if it becomes a law.
County officials have estimated that the school system would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from property taxes.
"Senate Bill 241 is a bad bill. It's a developers' relief bill," Dougherty said.
Currently, farm land purchased by developers and subdivided into housing developments is being taxed as commercial projects. Senate Bill 241 would roll back the taxes to a level as if the land had remained in farm use until homes are sold on them.
"The developers aren't farmers. The only thing they're growing is houses," Dougherty said.
School board members said they also want to see if the Legislature provides more funding to growing counties to hire more teachers.