Verona will continue to have three-quarter days for kindergarteners after voters turned down full-day classes at the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
The measure, which would have had Verona kindergarteners begin full school days ending at 2:45 p.m., was turned down by just 169 votes. As a result, kindergarteners will continue to be dismissed at 12:30 p.m.
A total of 5,367 Verona residents voted on the issue, with 2,599 voting in favor and 2,768 voted against the measure, according to unofficial results from the Essex County Clerk.
However, the results do not yet take absentee or provisional ballots into account, said Verona Municipal Clerk Sue Neale on Wednesday.
“I felt like there was a great deal of support for the program from a well-organized group of parents," said Verona Superintendent Steven Forte. "These parents put in many hours to attempt to get this passed."
"They did an amazing job getting 2,599 votes," he added.
Parents opposed to the full day said the idea was unnecessary and expressed the sentiment that kids should be kids and be able to be home, Forte said.
“Most kids are used to a full day of school,” said Verona resident Jessica Kirby, who said she supported full-day kindergarten classes. “A half day doesn't give teachers enough time to teach.”
See what people are saying on Verona-Cedar Grove Patch:
Amanda: I cannot believe full day kindergarten was not passed - and no, I do not have small children.
David: I do have small children and I was hoping it would pass. I get that adding this might have imposed on the school budget a little bit. I wish somehow we could find a solution so that it wouldn't. It would have me very proud to say that my children have gone to school in Verona from Kindergarten all the way through High School. It is already a great town to live in, this would have just made it the greatest.