Steamboat schools will charge $600 for all-day kindergarten this fall
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs School District will charge families of kindergarten students $600 during the upcoming school year to upgrade to a full-day kindergarten program.
The district announced in a letter to parents late last week that it was reducing its latest estimate of $750 for the school year to $600, thanks to additional funding awarded earlier in the month from the Education Fund Board.
Families can also pay a monthly rate of $70 for the first eight months of the school year and $40 for the month of May.
“We very much support that all kindergartners in Routt County should have access to full-day kindergarten,” said Vickie Clark, director of Routt County Department of Human Services, an organization that has been a proponent of low- or no-cost, all-day kindergarten, along with groups including First Impressions of Routt County, Routt County United Way and Integrated Community. “The $600 amount is helpful and should increase access from the $750 amount, but not for all.”
Representatives from the groups spoke to the Education Fund Board earlier this month, asking the board to fund all-day kindergarten using above-forecast tax revenue the fund collected since the board set its annual budget in March.
The board ultimately allocated $33,500 of the extra revenue to help bring all-day kindergarten costs down, potentially through needs-based scholarships.
At the request of the Education Fund Board, Steamboat Springs School District administrators split the $33,500 between Routt County’s three school districts based on the projected number of kindergarten students expected to attend schools in Steamboat, at North Routt Community Charter School, in South Routt and in Hayden.
Steamboat administrators elected not to award scholarships due to the complicated factors associated with awarding them and to instead reduce tuition across-the-board by $150, according to Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks.
School districts in Colorado receive state funding, which roughly covers the cost of a half-day kindergarten program, but districts are expected to fund the other half-day through the district budget or by charging tuition.
Until last year, families paid $2,400 to upgrade to a full-day kindergarten program in Steamboat.
For the 2015-16 school year, the district requested $330,000 from the Education Fund to pay for an all-day program for all kindergartners, eliminating tuition.
This year, the district prioritized other grant requests from the fund and ultimately didn’t request funding for the all-day program.
The district chose to absorb some of the all-day program costs into its budget but, until last week, had told parents to expect to pay $750 in tuition for the year.
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