Farmersville may build new kinder classrooms at Hester Elementary


Farmersville Unified considers grant opportunity to build permanent classrooms for kindergartners now housed in portables

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

FARMERSVILLE – Hester Elementary School in Farmersville may be getting new, larger classrooms for its smallest students.

At its March 12 board meeting, the Farmersville Unified School District board of trustees was presented with an application for grant funding to construct permanent classrooms for kindergarten at Hester, a K-1 school. The Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program was announced in January to construct new kindergarten classrooms for school districts already offering all-day kindergarten.

Superintendent Randy DeGraw said Farmersville Unified School District (FUSD) would use the money to relocate kindergarten classes from portable to permanent classrooms. He said the money would allow FUSD to build up to five new classrooms at Hester, which currently has about 125 kindergarten students.

“The idea of the grant is to encourage districts to provide all-day kindergarten because many districts still offer half-day,” DeGraw said.

Farmersville was among the first districts in Tulare County to consistently go to a full-day kindergarten system. DeGraw has been with the district for 30 years and said that FUSD has offered all-day kindergarten for at least that long.

For FUSD, the grant means phasing out some portables and replacing them with permanent classrooms. The classrooms would also be larger than typical classrooms. DeGraw said a standard elementary classroom is about 960 square feet while the new standard for kindergarten classrooms is about 1,200 square feet to give rambunctious tots room to roam as they adjust to a full-day of school.

“It’s considered a better space for that age,” DeGraw said.

Because more than 85% of Farmersville’s students are considered low-income, meaning they are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, the district may get additional points in the application process to move its project higher up the funding list. FUSD trustees did not take action on the item but plan to do so at a later date.

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