Kansas Governor Offers $80 Million Plan to Support Full-Day Kindergarten
By guest blogger Christina Samuels. Cross-posted from the Early Years blog.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has proposed increasing education funding by $80 million in order to pay the costs of full-day kindergarten throughout the state.
Currently, the state funds half-day kindergarten, and districts kick in local funds to support full-day kindergarten if they want to offer it. Brownback offered the proposal as he met with reporters as a walk-up to the state's legislative session, which starts Jan. 13. The Lawrence Journal-World, Kansas City Star, and the Wichita Eagle all offered takes on the proposal.
Most local districts have chosen to offer a full-day program for five-year-olds. According to the Star, only 15 of the state's 286 districts do not offer a full-day program. The money comes from state money given to districts for at-risk student populations, or in some cases, from tuition payments from parents. Brownback's proposal would increase state funding levels by annual increments of $16 million over five years so that the state could gradually assume the full-day kindergarten costs.