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Kindergarten registration signs 121 students

Westside Elementary School had a strong turnout for its annual kindergarten registration, held April 1 and 2 at the school.

“Through the registration, we had about 121 children sign up for kindergarten,” said WES principal Connie Brown, “but we have had children come in every day after the fact. Typically, we will build, and between now and the first day of school, we will get anywhere from 35 to 50 more.

“Last year, we registered about 150, and we’ve got 193 kindergarten students now. So, we’re going to pick up at least 40-something between now and the time school starts.”

The kindergarten enrollment has risen from 166 in the 2008-09 school year to 193 this year, a 17-percent increase. A great part of the success of the kindergarten program comes from its Fabulous Fours program.

The Fabulous Fours program is in its sixth year and helps children prepare for kindergarten by working with 4-year-olds throughout the year. However, due to possible budget constraints, the Fabulous Fours program might not be available during the 2010-11 school year.

The good news is that an Alabama Senate committee on Tuesday approved an education budget that is similar to last year’s, and is all but identical to the education budget passed by the Alabama House of Representatives on March 30.

“We’ve gotten some budget information, and it’s not great, but it’s not as bad as it could be,” Brown said.

“The principals will meet with the board members and everybody at the central office and talk about the budget, knowing that it won’t be finalized until it comes out of the Legislature, but that will give us a starting point for what we’ve got to work with next year.

“(The budget being about the same as last year’s) means all of our state units and federal units will be funded, based on what we got last year,” she said. “They aren’t changing the class ratio, and that’s going to help.”

Registration for the limited-capacity Fabulous Fours program was held on March 6 last year, but has not been held yet for this year because of the uncertainty of the state education budget.