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Monday, February 13, 2012

Kindergarten Rates Going Up

I know this was posted by readers in other threads but to be official; SPS has announced higher rates for full-day kindergarten.  The rate going up  from $2,370 to $2720 next school year.  There are 19 state fully-funded Ks in SPS that are fee-free.  There are 26 schools where F/RL students are eligible for fully-funded full-day kindergarten.  (There is overlap between the schools where all students get free kindergarten and those that allow F/RL students to waive the full-day kindergarten fee.)

From SPS:


The Kindergarten fee is only waived for:
  • All students at certain schools that are fully funded by state and federal funds.  
  • Students that have applied and approved by Nutrition Services for Free/Reduced priced meals.  For confidentiality reason, applicants must sign a consent form to share eligibility information with Accounting Department to attend full day kindergarten at no charge.  The waiver is only effective from the month of application approval. That is why it is important to send in your FRL application for school year 2012-13 in a timely manner.
  • Special education students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) minutes are greater than a half day.
  • Students who are required by the district to repeat the kindergarten year.
Also:

Half-Day Kindergarten

  • Students can opt to enroll for half-day program participation, which is free of charge. Most schools can accommodate kindergarten students who choose to attend for half of the program day. Please talk with the principal if you are interested in half-day participation only. Please also notify, in writing, SPS District Accounting Department at:  PO Box 34165, MS 33-343
    Seattle, WA 98124-1165
  • Students participating in a language immersion program must attend full day kindergarten, and accept the full day kindergarten program fees.
What I'll have to ask about is that there are a couple of places where what is on-line differs from the handout available to parents on this subject.

One place is where the district says "most schools can accommodate" half-day kindergarteners.   What if you attend a school that won't and it's your neighborhood school?  The state funds half-day K and if that's all you can afford, what would the district tell the parent to do?  Would they take that child at another school that does have half-day room?

The handout says "you will need to contact the principal of the school your child will attend and to work out a schedule for your child."  

The other place where there is a difference between the information on-line and in the handout is for Special Ed students.  On-line it says you are eligible if you have an IEP that calls for more minutes than a half-day.   The handout says, "If your child has an IEP, you will still need to pay the full-day kindergarten fee unless your family qualifies for F/RL."

17 comments:

dan dempsey said...

And the WA Supreme Court looks on .....

State is NOT fully funding education.

Article IX of State constitution is being violated but who cares until 2018? Not the Supremes.

Patrick said...

Why are the free full-day K schools done on a school by school basis, instead of low incomes that are not low enough to qualify for FRL? Lots of people can afford $2.75 lunches who can't afford $2700 for full-day K. Is it a state or federal requirement that it be on a school-by-school basis?

Dorothy Neville said...

Patrick, the state used to only support half day K. A few years ago, the legislature determined that kindy was part of basic ed and started rolling out all day K. They only had enough money to fund a portion of the schools, so they ranked all in the state by percent FRL and started at the top. They got to 80% FRL. That's why there are some schools that get all day K for no cost, they are the ones that the state put on their list.

The list is static, so you can see that some schools which were at over 80% FRL at the time but have come down are still there. Thurgood Marshall is the one example I know. Well, the state knows that TM has changed percentages and is cool with it still being on the list. But we CANNOT take TM off the list and substitute another Seattle School. If we took TM off the list, the next school to get the funding would be in another district, most likely. See, the state expected to roll this out increasing the number of schools every year, so they didn't put in a mechanism for changing eligible schools. All they planned to do was increase the number of eligible ones.

So no, the funding for state-paid-for all day K is a school by school decision and cannot be on a per student decision.

Now, the other type of school that has had all-day K free for all students has been Title 1 schools that are not covered in the above list, so about 7 schools with FRL percentages between 55 and 80. The district mandated that they use their Title 1 dollars to pay for this. Now those schools want to free up that Title 1 money for other purposes and therefore the non-FRL students in those schools will join with the non-FRL students in other schools to pay for the all-day-K program. Title 1 is limited to certain schools. Schools with less than 35% FRL are prohibited by the feds from getting Title 1 (IIRC). Schools over 75% FRL are required to get Title 1 and the district sets the actual cut-off in between.

KG said...

Kindergarten ought to be paid for by the state for full-day, but our state values Boeing more than students.

Shannon said...

Is there any public data on the elasticity of demand for full-day K in Seattle?

I have an incoming K kid to a fee-paying school. When my elder child was going to K, the fees didn't feel like a lot - they felt more like admin fees. But getting to $2,700 for K is starting to feel like a school fee. I mean, if you double that cost that you are supposedly paying for the half day tuition, you are not far off the out-of-parish rate for some parochial schools.

I am not sure if I am making sense but if us-middle-class ppl really notice it, and it becomes a price/choice issue, I imagine it is even more so in people with a more marginal income who do not qualify for FRL.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I hate paying for K. I think a full day for Kindergartners is too long, but if I send my child only half day, she misses math and science, which are covered in the afternoons, as well as fun stuff like parties and assemblies. The option to have your child go half day is not really an option, so because we don't qualify for FRL we pay. We feel like we already gave, so to speak, so we will not be attending our school's auction and we don't give in other ways. How can a public school district, which is by law supposed to provide free, public education, then charge tuition?

Jane

Anonymous said...

Thankfully the rules are not a rat's nest of garbage which insure the employment of paper pushers and a lower likelihood of participation for those who most need it and can least afford it.

WhatAMess

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jane, this is what not fully-funding education looks like. The state will only fund half-day and then expects the districts to fill the other half of the day in. Should that half-day be one priority of districts over other programs? Maybe we should have a survey and ask.

But this is what we are given.

Anonymous said...

The district might say that the full-day K program is optional (so they can charge for it), but that's certainly not the sentiment I got from one of the teachers when I toured my son's school last year. I was considering having my son go half-day, but when I broached the subject she said "I've never had a half-day student, and I wouldn't want one - there's too much to teach."

-- D's mom

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Alliance 4 Ed pay for all day K for all K students?

WV says "bratical."

Mr. White

CT said...

D's Mom - I'm sorry you were told that. I've had both 1/2 day K and ADK students enter my classroom in first grade and honestly, the differences I've noticed are minimal when looking at the big picture. What matters more is the home situation, the child, the prior access to preschool, and the willingness of the parents to spend time talking and reading with their child. I've had 1/2 day kids who've come in every bit as prepared as my ADK kids; oftentimes they were the last of the kids and mom just wanted one more year of enjoying them at home before full-time school. I've had ADK kids who were not as prepared for school as some of my 1/2 day kids - they entered too soon because parents worked full time and wanted them in school full-time as soon as possible. ADK is not appropriate for every child; similarly 1/2 day K does not meet the needs of every child. Each situation is different.
CT

ArchStanton said...

This doesn't speak to the Pay-for-K issue, but more to choosing 1/2 vs. full day:

When we were looking at K, our closest school offered a 3/4 day, but we liked the next closest school better and they only offered 1/2 or full-day. Half-day seemed too short (shorter than the co-op preschool we were leaving) and 5 days/week of full-day seemed too long. We discussed the the possibility of enrolling in full-day but leaving early most days with the teachers and principal and they were open to the idea. Since the last 90 minutes was recess followed by free choice time, it wasn't disruptive and she could stay for parties or if she just felt like it as she made friends and got used to the longer day. It didn't hamper her readiness since we had been doing all of the reading and numbers things at home anyway.

Just wanted to offer our experience in working with the system to meet our needs.

Remembering said...

Class scheduling didn't make half day an option for us. Similar to Jane, core subjects were taught in the afternoon.

My child was usually exhausted by the afternoon I wouldn't have minded taking him homeearly, but the class schedule didn't really allow it.

Seriously Annoyed said...

This is an insane amount of money for our family who doesn't come close to qualifying for FRL. For my family, "full-day" K is not too long. It's about a 6 hour day with lunch recess and PE thrown in.

A year or two ago Meg, I think maybe, and some others had done some digging and said the non-FRL and schools with free full-day K were being "paid for" by the kids who were paying for full day K. Did anyone ever figure that out for sure?

I think the district should pay for full-day K for FRL kids, but if they can't afford it, they can't massage numbers so the rest of the K families are actually covering the costs. I looked into our school's budget since the district's budget is overwhelming. I added the two K teacher's salaries, a pro-rated portion of the PE teacher, lunch lady, etc. etc. and I got to roughly HALF the cost they are charging us when divided by the number of K kids at our school.

I'm really curious if the analyses done in the past proved this subsidizing by the non-FRL families.

Thanks - Seriously Annoyed.

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