Much fanfare was recently made in Indianapolis about fully-funded full day kindergarten for next school year. It is political rhetoric. We presently receive $1030 per full day student for their additional one-half day of attendance. That amount will increase by $20 per student next year. Twenty bucks is not a deal maker or breaker for full-day kindergarten decisions!
For the state to fully-fund full day kindergarten in the same manner as grades 1-12 would require an additional $2000 per student. We presently ask parents to contribute toward our full-day program, based on a sliding scale. Free lunch students pay $10 per week, reduced are $20, and other students are $30. Even though any of those amounts are lower than day care for 1/2 day, we have had to go to small claims court to attempt collection for some uncollected fees. With current state along with parent payments, Wawasee runs an annual deficit for full-day kindergarten.
Although our extra 1/2-day program is a financial drain, no direct student instructional intervention is more effective than full-day kindergarten. Currently, almost half of Wawasee kindergarten students attend full-day. We are increasing full-day kindergarten classes by one at each elementary school. At that level, 75% of our kindergarten children will attend all day. The educational benefits will be great, though we will have to cover a larger financial drain. This is an investment that will pay large dividends for student learning now and in the future.
There are and will be some kindergarten parents who want a 1/2-day program. One AM kindergarten class at each elementary will remain to accommodate those requests.
No facility changes/projects will be needed to accommodate our additional full-day children.
Please feel free to contact me if you should have questions or comments about our full-day kindergarten program.
The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
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