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All-day kindergarten will close gap, candidate says

October 23, 2000|By TARA REILLY

All-day kindergarten will close gap, candidate says



Editor's note: This is the third in a series of stories about Washington County Board of Education candidates.

Full-day kindergarten will boost the learning skills of students who go into the program under-prepared, according to Washington County Board of Education member Edwin Hayes.

Hayes, 46, of Williamsport, who is running for re-election to a four-year term after spending a term on the School Board, said he would like to see the full-day program implemented.

"We've got kids that are spelling and writing their own names versus kids that can't even identify letters in their names," Hayes said. "All-day kindergarten is really going to help us close that gap down so these kids come to school ready to learn."

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Hayes said he thinks reading should continue to be emphasized throughout the school system to ensure that the basics are being met and that students can comprehend what they read.

Reading was one of the issues he promoted when he ran for the School Board in 1996.

"That to me was the biggest issue out of the '96 election," Hayes said. "People wanted an end to the reading wars, and I think we mended the reading wars."

Hayes is one of eight candidates vying for four seats on the seven-member School Board. The election is Nov. 7.

Hayes said he thinks the Board of Education should focus on ways to bring more state funding into Washington County and to get more local funding. Combined, the money could be used to increase teachers' salaries, he said.

A key to boosting the work environment of teachers, however, is to place value on the teaching profession, Hayes said.

"We're going through a period of time where we've not as a society put a value on teachers," Hayes said. "We have to be open and honest with our communications. But again you can have a happy work force that maybe isn't doing what you want it to do, or then you can have a work force that isn't so happy, but they're delivering on the instruction."

"All you can do is be fair and honest and try to work with them. I think that's what we've done over the last four years," Hayes said.

Hayes runs his family's 200-acre beef and grain farm in southern Washington County and is a self-employed agricultural consultant.

He has served as a past School Board president and said his time as a board member should give him an edge over other candidates.

"I think I bring the experience to the table," Hayes said.

School Board members receive $4,800 annually. The president gets $100 more.

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