The Westerville school district may ask to delay the implementation of all-day, every-day kindergarten for an additional two years.

The Westerville school district may ask to delay the implementation of all-day, every-day kindergarten for an additional two years.

Under former Gov. Ted Strickland's last budget bill, House Bill 1, schools were required to implement all-day, every-day kindergarten by this school year or apply for a one-year waiver and implement the program in the 2011-2012 school year.

Last year, Westerville schools chose to apply for the waiver for this school year and look toward implementation for the next school year.

Last month, the state announced that schools would once again be allowed to ask for waivers, this time for two years.

The Westerville Board of Education heard the first reading of a resolution Jan. 24 that would ask the state for a waiver.

To be eligible for a waiver, the board must pass the resolution, the district's superintendent must complete and sign a waiver form and the district must present an implementation plan for the 2013-2014 school year.

Space and cost restraints are key factors in leading the district to apply for a waiver, said Karen McClellan, the district's deputy chief academic officer.

According to a survey of parents conducted by the district, 80 percent of eligible families would opt to place their children in an all-day, every-day kindergarten program, and some parents who currently would choose to send their children to private all-day, every-day kindergarten programs would choose to instead enroll their children in Westerville schools.

To accommodate that number of students in an all-day kindergarten program, the district would have to hire an additional 21 teachers and establish another 18 classrooms, McClellan said.

The program would cost an estimated $1.98-million to implement, and most of that cost would be recurring annual costs, she said.

By applying for the waiver, the space issue would at least be solved because by the time the district would have to provide all-day, every-day kindergarten, the preschool program will be consolidated at the district's Eastwind facility, opening up space at elementary schools, McClellan said.

Another reason to seek the waiver is that a bill recently introduced into the Ohio House, House Bill 30, would eliminate the requirement in anticipation of expected state funding cuts, she said.