The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Breaking News

December 10, 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 from a full-day kindergarten funding grant program, 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.

“I 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 increase in funding is critical,” said state Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, 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 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.”

Spradlin and other 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
Breaking News
  • Police: GPS helped solve, didn't deter killings

    GPS technology helped police link two convicted sex offenders to the rapes and killings of at least four women in California, but the mother of one victim said Tuesday that the monitoring system should have done more to prevent the crimes in the first place.

    April 15, 2014

  • GM sales eyed for impact of ignition switch recall

    As General Motors shows off its newest cars and trucks in New York this week, analysts are watching for signs that consumers are shying away from the ones sitting on dealer lots.

    April 15, 2014

  • NWS - HB0416 - sperry reunion Baby born after deadly accident released to family

    A baby girl born the same day a deadly accident claimed her father's life was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Putnam County deputy charged with lying to grand jury

    Federal prosecutors say a grand jury has charged a central Indiana reserve sheriff's deputy with lying to it in connection with the investigation of another deputy.

    April 15, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over Boston's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 15, 2014

  • Storm topples RVs near Mississippi's Gulf coast

    A storm barreled through Mississippi Gulf Coast communities, leaving about a dozen damaged or destroyed RV trailers at one campground Tuesday amid downed trees and power lines.

    April 15, 2014

  • Supremacist faces murder charges in Kansas deaths

    Kansas prosecutors filed state-level murder charges Tuesday against the white supremacist accused in shootings that left three people dead at two Jewish community sites in suburban Kansas City.

    April 15, 2014

  • First women move to Army platoon artillery jobs

     Under a canopy of trees on the edge of a large field, soldiers from Bravo Battery are lying in a circle as they pore over targeting charts. Nearby, others are preparing the howitzer cannons as helicopters swoop overhead. At the edge of the circle, the platoon leader watches as the field artillerymen go through their training exercise.

    April 15, 2014

  • Russia tests Obama's ability to stop its advances

     With the White House asserting that Russia is stoking instability in eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama is once again faced with the complicated reality of following through on his tough warnings against overseas provocations.

    April 15, 2014

  • Indianapolis-San Francisco flights have good start

    New nonstop flights between Indianapolis and San Francisco have been filling up with passengers during their first months in the air.

    April 15, 2014

Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
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.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Should the collective bargaining agreement be reopened between the Anderson school board and teachers before the contract is up in 2018?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results