In May of 2017, residents of the Brighton Central School District approved the annual school budget as well as the first phase of the Brighton Facilities Improvement Plan. The budget and capital project allow for the implementation of full-day kindergarten in 2021 and significant improvements to classrooms, libraries, and athletic and arts facilities throughout the District.
The discussion around full-day kindergarten in Brighton has being ongoing for decades. During the 2013-14 school year, the Board of Education started a Full-Day Kindergarten Committee study to address three questions: 1) What would our academic program look like with a full-day kindergarten program? 2) Do we have the physical capacity to implement a program; and if not, what options does the District have? 3) Does our community want us to pursue the development of a full-day kindergarten program? Based on the presentations given to the Board in January of 2014, the Board directed the Superintendent to develop a plan to implement full-day kindergarten.
During the 2014-15 school year, the district did an apples-to-apples comparison of expanding Council Rock Primary School versus redeveloping the Brookside school. It was quickly determined that Council Rock did not have enough capacity to add an additional 6 to 8 kindergarten classrooms. Space is a concern at Council Rock – even with a half-day program. Additionally, unlike many other school districts, Brighton’s enrollment is stable, if not growing at some grades.
The decision was then made to pursue redeveloping the Brookside school as a new K-2 building. This decision was made after a detailed architectural and engineering analysis was performed by SWBR Architects.
During the 2015-16 school year, the District further explored the possibility of redeveloping the Brookside building. However, after listening to feedback from the community, the Board of Education and District decided the local tax impact of the Brookside project was too high and the project did not address a broad enough scope of facilities needs across our District.
The Brighton Facilities Improvement Plan was studied and presented to the community during the 2016-17 school year. This project includes an addition at Council Rock that would accommodate full-day kindergarten, along with significant work that needs to be done at French Road Elementary School, Twelve Corners Middle School, and Brighton High School. The local tax impact for this project is significantly lower than the Brookside plan since more of the work qualifies for State Building Aid reimbursement.
It is anticipated that construction across the District will begin in the spring of 2019 and reach completion by the end of 2021. The full-day kindergarten program will be ready for the 2021-22 school year.