Monday, December 22, 2014

All-day kindergarten effort likely shelved amid school funding fix

By The Herald Staff | 3/28/2014

TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback’s initiative to increase funding for all-day kindergarten in Kansas won’t be happening in 2014, House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said.

The initiative to increase funding for all-day kindergarten probably would be pushed aside in 2014, Merrick said, because of the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling that demands the state increase education funding to help poor school districts, according to a report in the Lawrence Journal-World.

In his State of the State address, Brownback called on the Legislature to support his initiative to help make all-day kindergarten a reality for all Kansas school districts. But because of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling, the Legislature is focused on raising the state’s education funding by $129 million to comply with the high court’s ruling.

The state pays for half-day kindergarten, but 87 percent of Kansas kindergartners already are in full-day kindergarten, according to media reports. School districts make up the difference by using other funds or charging fees. Brownback’s proposal would have added $16 million each year for five years to cover the full cost of full-day kindergarten for a total price tag of $80 million.

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