The full-day kindergarten lottery held earlier this week provided space for 60 students in three classrooms at Braintree High School – 10 from each of the town's elementary schools.
A total of 226 students entered the lottery, with Liberty (50) and Morrison (49) leading the number of entrants. Following were Flaherty and Hollis with 36 each, Highlands with 32 and Ross with 23, according to Superintendent Dr. Peter Kurzberg.
Students not selected can join a wait list. Following the lottery, an informational meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at East Middle School.
Parents were emailed the results on Wednesday. Many of them expressed frustration with the low percentage of students who received a spot, writing on the wall of the Braintree Full-Day Kindergarten Facebook group, which has nearly 350 members.
This year, the full-day program includes classrooms at Flaherty, Hollis and Morrison, and FDK proponents have been pushing for expansion at the same time school officials say the program may shrink next year.
Mark and Carolynn Moore, whose daughter was part of the first FDK class in 2011-2012, wrote in an email earlier this month to Mayor Joseph Sullivan and Dr. Kurzberg that initially the issue was about demand, but now the school department should offer the program to all students.
"A huge group of us parents pleaded for a situation where all children could have this option," they wrote. "After the first year, two classrooms increased to three at the high school.
"The second year yielded six classes filled and still had a waiting list. How on earth is it even an option that moving in to the third year of offering FDK it is even a consideration to entertain an option that offers FDK to LESS children?"
A significant part of the dicussion among parents has been the wider issue of school space. Dr. Kurzberg said earlier this year that because of a lack of space at the elementary level, home school full-day kindergarten may not be offered in 2013-2014.
A fourth classroom at BHS may become available, depending on interest, but would involve students eating lunch in their rooms or in the BHS cafeteria after older students are finished, Dr. Kurzberg said.
On Jan. 28, the School Committee will meet at Braintree High at 7 p.m. Space needs will be on their agenda, in particular proposals by the school department to add modular classrooms or re-open Monatiquot.
Chair Shannon Hume has said that the committee may or may not vote at that time, but that it needs to decide on a long-term solution that will address a space crunch affecting all K-5 students.
Depending on the committee's decision, FDK could be expanded for next fall. Dr. Kurzberg has said that adding 24 modular classrooms, six at each elementary school, could free space for home school full-day kindergarten. Re-opening Monatiquot could also add room for more FDK.