Pharos-Tribune

Local News

December 11, 2012

Full-day kindergarten enrollment up 19 percent after state boosts dollars to local schools

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s decision to increase funding for full-day kindergarten has led to an increase in students enrolling in kindergarten programs across the state and more state dollars doled out to local schools.

On Friday, the state will distribute nearly $190 million in full-day kindergarten funding, more than double the $81 million spent last school year, according to numbers released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education.

The money is going to 338 public school corporations and charter schools that collectively saw a 19 percent increase in the number of students enrolling in full-day kindergarten programs: from 66,401 in the 2011-12 school year to 79,110 students this school year.

The increase in enrollment and funding is due to legislation pushed by Gov. Mitch Daniels that put more money into a state grant program that helps qualifying local schools pay for their full-day kindergarten programs.

The legislation boosted the amount to $2,400 per student, almost twice the amount that schools got the year before. It triggered some schools to expand their half-day programs into full-day kindergarten, and allowed other schools to offer a full-day program without having to charge extra tuition to parents.

Terry Spradlin, director for education policy at Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education, called it “good news” for Indiana.

“It think this will be beneficial,” said Spradlin, a strong advocate of early childhood education.

The extra dollars are in addition to money that local schools already receive through the state’s school-funding formula. Combined, it will provide about $5,000 per kindergarten student, Spradlin said.

The legislation that increased dollars through the full-day kindergarten grant program only extends two years, but some lawmakers see it as indicator of growing support for education.

The additional dollars were only approved for this school year and next, but some lawmakers see a permanent shift taking place.

“The increase in funding is critical,” said state Rep. Ed Clere, a New Albany Republican who sits on the House Committee on Education. “But just as critical is the policy decision that the legislature made in identifying full-day kindergarten funding as a priority.”

“It was an important first step in the right direction, but it won’t be the last step,” Clere said. “I think there is growing support in the legislature to support early childhood education as one of the most important investments we can make.”

The full-day funding levels for schools was released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education. It’s based on enrollment numbers for this current school year.

Attending kindergarten isn’t mandatory in Indiana, but public schools in the state are required to offer some kind of kindergarten program to eligible students.

Some had opted for half-day programs or charged parents tuition for their children to attend a full-day program. In some communities, like Floyd County where Clere is from, local foundations stepped in to provide the extra dollars to the schools to support a full-day program.

“Access to full-day kindergarten was limited by financial means,” Clere said. “We’re finally moving past that.”

Education experts say full-day kindergarten programs give students, especially those from low-income families, a boost in their later academic success.

The legislation that doubled the dollars for full-day kindergarten guarantees $2,400 in state money for every child enrolled in a full-day kindergarten program. Schools were getting only about $1,200 per kindergarten student before the legislation passed.  

The legislature approved the temporary increase in kindergarten dollars for this school year. But in signing the legislation into law, Daniels said it signaled a shift in commitment from the legislature to spend more dollars on education.

“This is never going away, and the finances of the state clearly support it,” Daniels said at the time. “This is not inexpensive, but we think it’s the next best investment to make in education.”

Daniels had pushed the idea for more kindergarten funding earlier this year as state revenues were rebounding. This summer, he announced that Indiana ended the fiscal year with a $2 billion surplus.

Earlier this fall, Republican leaders in the Statehouse, who hold a super-majority in both the state House and Senate, said they were committed to spending more state dollars on early childhood education. In January, when the legislature goes back into session, lawmakers will be crafting a two-year budget bill that includes education spending.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS-PT042514 caston play alice.jpg Back in character: Caston students take the stage FULTON -- For the first time in eight years, students are taking the Caston stage for a high school play. Caston High School students will perform "Alice in Wonderland" today and May 2 in an effort to bring back the school's annual stage productions.

    April 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Panel discusses renewable energy, public power Professionals in the energy industry and economic development discussed public power and renewable energy Wednesday night at an event organized by a community organization urging citizens to explore alternatives to Logansport officials' pursuit of an

    April 25, 2014

  • City council considers putting polygraph fees on applicants Logansport City Council will vote on an ordinance that would require applicants to the city's police and fire departments to pay the costs of their polygraph tests, which would then be returned if and when they pass. Logansport Police Chief Mike Clar

    April 25, 2014

  • Boy severely injured in crash out of ICU A boy involved in an all-terrain vehicle crash April 6 has left the intensive care unit and undergone what doctors and his family hope to be his final brain surgery. Kohle Wildrick, 12, a Galveston Elementary sixth-grade student, remains hospitalized

    April 24, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 25, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 24, 2014

  • NWS-PT042414 Princess Singing-MAK Fairy tale remix: Lewis Cass presents "Once Upon a Mattress" WALTON -- Barbra Burch played Queen Aggravain in Lewis Cass High School's 1985 production of "Once Upon a Mattress." Twenty-nine years later, she is directing the musical at the school. "It's kind of surreal," she said. "There are some things that ta

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Indiana Packers opening Frankfort plant FRANKFORT -- Delphi-based Indiana Packers bought a former Birchwood Foods meat plant in Frankfort and plans to reopen it this summer. Indiana Packers, which employs 2,000 full time at its Delphi plant, is investing $2.28 million to purchase, renovate

    April 24, 2014

  • Minding the nutrition gap Almost one in five children in Cass County who sometimes don't have access to enough food for a healthy life aren't eligible for federal assistance programs designed to address that lack, a new study indicates. Feeding America's Map the Meal Gap proj

    April 24, 2014

  • Police blotter: April 23, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Mall mortgage up for auction The mortgage note for the Logansport Mall is scheduled to be sold at auction early next month. Foreclosure procedures for the mall began when lawyers for Algonquin State Bank, N.A., out of Algonquin, Ill., filed a complaint against the mall's owner -

    April 23, 2014

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents Obama Reassures Japan on China Raw: Car Crashes Into San Antonio Pool Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Raw: Angry Relatives Confront SKorea Officials Bigger Riders Means Bigger Horses Out West Yankees Pineda Ejected for Pine Tar Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
eEdition