Archive for Friday, April 14, 2006

How much would you pay for all-day kindergarten?

Fees for possible program could reach $240 per month

April 14, 2006


Lawrence school officials want to know how many parents are willing to pay $240 a month for all-day kindergarten.

Plans call for polling parents during remaining kindergarten roundups.

"About 30 percent of the roundups have already taken place; those parents will be sent a letter," Supt. Randy Weseman said. "The rest will be asked to fill out a survey when they come in."

The surveys, he said, are designed to let the district know how many parents would be willing to pay for all-day kindergarten, if lawmakers do not include it in the state's K-12 spending plan.

"The $240 figure is what we would have to charge if the Legislature does nothing," Weseman said. "I don't think that's going to happen, but, at the same time, I can't predict what the Legislature is going to do."

If lawmakers agree to pick up part or all the tab, the monthly charge would be reduced or eliminated, he said.

"We think we can do it," Weseman said. "But the bottom line is we need to know how many people would be willing to participate in some kind of phased-in, fee-based system.

"We can't wait for the Legislature to get around to doing whatever it's going to do," he said.

From left Sunset Hill kindergartners Gabe Smith, Ethan Flores and Brandt Riley, work on a reading and drawing exercise.   Lawrence shool officials are polling parents of kindergartners to-be to see if they're willing -- or how many are willing -- to pay upwards of $200 a month for all-day kindergarten.

From left Sunset Hill kindergartners Gabe Smith, Ethan Flores and Brandt Riley, work on a reading and drawing exercise. Lawrence shool officials are polling parents of kindergartners to-be to see if they're willing -- or how many are willing -- to pay upwards of $200 a month for all-day kindergarten.

The Legislature reconvenes April 26.

"There's a lot of planning that has to take place beforehand. You don't just throw something like this together," Weseman said.

Parents also will be asked to pay the standard one-time enrollment fee - $112 - to cover instructional materials, technology and activity trip transportation.

The fees would not apply to students eligible for free or reduced-priced meals.

District plans call for offering all-day kindergarten in all 15 elementary schools. Parents could send their children for only a half-day, if they prefer.

Because four elementary schools - Hillcrest, Quail Run, Sunflower and Sunset Hill - do not have enough classroom space to accommodate their entire enrollments, cluster sites at New York and Langston Hughes would handle the overflow.

The district would provide transportation to the cluster sites.

Survey results, Weseman said, will be presented to the Lawrence school board May 8.


candi044 12 years ago

Guess its a great thing that in Kansas there is no law stating that your child must go to Kindergarden. I think going to Kindergarden cost more then leaving some of the kids in daycare. Y is it that lawrence is the most expensive place to live an we cant get the freaking funds for educations. Makes me wounder where is the education money going.

noodle 12 years ago

They should be asking parents of pre-school children as well. They will be in Kindergarden by the time this takes place. $240 per month sounds high. I think 1/2 day care at most daycare centers is about $300-$350 and all day Kindergarden would not provide care after school lets out so working parents would also have to pay a child care provider for that time.

cowboy 12 years ago

While I no longer have kids in the system here I'd like to see all the fees that were added a few years ago due to budget rolled back first before any new programs are started.

erichaar 12 years ago

$240 a month sounds like a bargain. I'm sure Veritas and Bishop Seabury parents would love to educate their children for such a small sum.

bretherite 12 years ago

I educate my child at Seabury and I don't mind paying the fees. I choose that over the garbage in public schools. My child learns both evolution and religion. I have a younger child and I wouldn't pay 240.00 a month to educate them in public school. No thanks.

KSChick1 12 years ago

Public education is supposed to be FREE. I have a 6th grader, it already costs me $112 just to get her into school in the fall, and this fall going into 7th grade it will cost $162. It is "textbook rental", "activity fee", etc. What a bunch of hooey. I guess in a way it's the legislature's fault as they don't fund enough with the school districts. But when you make just enough not to qualify for help, but just little enough that you struggle and scrape to pay the fees, for breakfasts and lunches, and then they want to add more fees to that!?!

Kathleen Christian 12 years ago

I have a little one in kindergarten, but I can't afford $240 a mon - no way. What about the other single mothers who won't be able to afford this fee? Do they get billed later on and have to pay it in installments they can afford? Or is it waived - which would not be fair to the others who do pay? OR will the state pay it, which would cost them more money anyway. I think the money is out there. Perhaps the Administrators should a salary cut and add it to the education fee for this.

Bruce Rist 12 years ago

I wouldn't do it if it was free.

Maxandwillie 12 years ago

I consider the fee a bargain. I spend over $600 a month now for daycare and preschool (2 kids)totatl $1200. More education at a cheaper rate sounds like a positive. For those who it will be too expensive they will find a way to provide it for you. If you are eligible for "free and reduced lunch" you will probably get exempted.

Terry Bush 12 years ago

Check out the discussion on this topic at the blog written by Liz W. As I said there, in summary, we have come to a point where there are fewer taxpayers but the same (and/or more) demands upon the government to pay for a myriad of services. J

ust as with a family on a budget, when there isn't money to pay for demanded or expected services, the belt gets tightened. Fee funded public services are becoming more and more common. Read Octavia Butler's "The Parable of the Sower" to get a look at a future, where if you want the police or fire or amublance servers help, you will get billed.

The middle class is usually the group that get most squeezed pay more and more for demanded/expected government services; and when the middle class has had enough, that is when true social revolutions take place!

Kelly Anderson 12 years ago

While I understand that money is always an issue, I believe that some people are missing the point of 1/2 day versus full day. I have one child that went 1/2 day and now have a child that will be attending kindergarten this fall. My older child was exhausted when coming home from kindergarten, not because of all the activity but from having to cram a full day of learning into a half day session. I have talked with some of the kindergarten teachers and they would love to be able to teach full day because then they have the time to get to know the children and are able to educate on a slower pace. Right now they feel that they have to cram everything in just to meet standards in a year. I am for full day not for my benefit but for my child and the teachers.

candi044 12 years ago

auricular_eyes, well I know for a fact it doesnt go to the Administration wages. Have a look at the opens list of USD497 and check out the pay for most of the jobs. You will be shocked if you think the money is going there.

Jeanne Cunningham 12 years ago

Let them be just kids for at least just half a day for just one more year. They grow up too soon already....


dncinnanc 12 years ago

As somebody who worked in the payroll dept for the school district, I can GUARANTEE that money does not go in the pockets of the workers, at least not directly. Almost all employees earn less than the state median for their job title, but the district offers a great benefits package, including free health insurance for full-time employees (reduced rates for part-time). Everybody bitches that all companies should offer insurance, but few recognize the cost. A basic plan w/ a $250 deductible costs the district just under $300 per month, per employee. Considering that there are about 1600 employees, about 75% of which are full time, you do the math- it ain't cheap. Trust me, people do not work for school districts for the salaries.

Kookamooka 12 years ago

There needs to be an option. I think it's a great idea. It will fill the need for many, many working parents all over the city. Now, what are they going to do about that early dismissal on Wednesdays? Charge us to make that a full day? It's almost becoming a game. Take away a service, then make the users pay to get it back. WATCH OUT ARTS EDUCATION!!!

red6102003 12 years ago

That would be awsome right now I pay $500.00 a month for my sons schooling, This would save me a few bucks

hockmano 12 years ago

Yes, it would probably save some parents money, but PUBLIC SCHOOL should be FREE! Once again USD497 comes up with a way to put change in their pockets! I am enrolling my two children in virtual school through another Kansas school district for 2006-2007 and guess what? Its all free!

blessed3x 12 years ago

All-day kindergarten should be on a voluntary basis and the parents of the attending child should pay for it. I think all-day kindergarten is a terrible idea for my children. Why in the world would I want them to spend an extra half day in an over-crowded classroom when they can come home to a loving, involved mother. If your situation does not provide for that, fine, but don't ask me to pay for your kid to attend this state-sponsered daycare.

After all, I'm already too busy paying for all the children that are here illegally to attend our schools.

garrenfamily 12 years ago

what happened to a "free" public education? how much would it cost to have an all-day kindergarten if every child HAD to pay???? how much of my child's money would be going to help someone else's child who can't afford it but still gets the same services????

bizarre 12 years ago

so what happens to the kids who have parents that cant pay? Do the poor kids only get 1/2 a day of education while the upper class gets a full day? Or perhaps only the west side schools will provide all day kindercare and the east side 1/2 a day! Who says education is equal anyway???

Godot 12 years ago

The people who lobby for all day kindergarten (and I'm sure there are one or more organized groups who do) better get started raising money for scholarships.

SAHM2tylrnathan 12 years ago

Here is how "all-day" works in my sister's west JoCo district: "Free" kindergarten is half day, then if you choose, you can pay to send your kid to "kindergarten enrichment" the other half day. It is housed in the elementary school but is administered by Parks and Rec. So technically it is NOT all-day k, but half-day plus activities. I don't know what the breakdown is for the curriculum, but I believe they do support the kids' school work. The big working parent bonus here is that they have all-day enrichment on many school vacation days, including spring break, meaning mom and/or dad don't even have to take time off to watch the kids on in-service or early release days. Many of those vacation days include all-day field trips, some educational, some just play.

If it's going to be pay to play, it ought to be admistered by some entity other than the school district. Public school is supposed to be free and equal opportunity. As it stands, there will be lots of families who might benefit from all-day K who will not qualify for the freebie but who can't swing an extra $240 a month. I think the school districts ought to keep their hands clean. IMHO it could set a tempting precedent for districts to start charging for educational services.

Does anybody know if Lawrence also offers an after-school program for a price? Here in Rossville, they offer Prime Time, which is basically in-school babysitting until about 5:00.

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