Seattle schools are going through or finishing up their budget process right now. One budget problem all K-5 and K-8 schools have to deal with is the fact that the state only pays for a half day of kindergarten; Schools who offer a full day (most of them), have to pay for those FTE’s somehow.
In past years, most north end schools use a “Pay for K” scheme, with varying amounts paid each month by families. Most south end schools have not. For schools that have not had a Pay for K scheme, federal Title 1 funds apparently have been used to make up the difference, since many of them have the required high percentage of FRL (Free and Reduced Lunch) students. But even some schools without Title 1 funds have managed to avoid Pay for K.
This year things seem to be different, for a variety of reasons. One, the state budget shortfall has seriously affected the district, and school budgets are feeling the pain. Two, the percentage of FRL required to get Title 1 funds has increased. Three, the closures and consolidations have resulted in situations where schools that in the past would qualify for Title 1 no longer do.
Our school is strongly considering a Pay for K program. I’m interested in hearing if there are any other schools who have not had such a program in the past now suddenly having to consider it, or if schools are needing to increase the amount they are getting from families each month.
Here is a spreadsheet, based on the 2009-10 enrollment guide, with each school’s “Pay for K” comments. I’m guessing some of these might not now be accurate.