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All Day Kindergarten – Financial Viewpoint

March 5, 2012

The Michigan Legislature approved rules last year regarding the funding of kindergarten programs.  Starting in September 2012, schools must provide full day kindergarten in order to receive full funding.  With the shift from collecting a full per student allowance for half day kindergarten to receiving a full per student allowance only for full day programs, many districts, including Saline, are now planning to offer full day kindergarten.  I don’t want to get into the academic or social-emotional merits of full day vs. half day or my opinion on the historic rationale for the funding model, however, I do want to explain the financial implications of the decision.

In the Fall of 2011, we had 330 kindergarten students enrolled.  With a per student allowance from the State of $7,173, we collected approximately $2.37 million in revenue to educate our kindergarten students.  In addition, because of our half day structure, we collect just under $300,000 in revenue from families that choose our Extended Day Option program – bringing our revenue for kindergarten to $2.67 million.

If we keep the same format of half day kindergarten for next year, and collect 50% of the foundational allowance ( or roughly $3,586 per student), we would collect a $1.18 million and $300,000 in Extended Day Option revenue for a total revenue of $1.48 million in revenue.

Moving to full day kindergarten allows us to capture the full $2.37 million in State revenue, however, we do lose the $300,000 in Extended Day Option revenue, therefore our net revenue would remain $2.37 million.  The full day decision nets the district $890,000 more in revenue than staying with the half day model.  There are additional expenses associated with going to full day.  We will need to add staff, equip additional classrooms, etc.  and we estimate that cost to be in the $200,000 range. Those expenses will be offset somewhat by not having mid-day busing.

Overall, the shift in kindergarten funding by the State will cost the district more in 2012-2013 than in 2011-2012 – that is unavoidable.  However, based on the new funding model the reality is that moving to all day kindergarten makes the most sense for Saline Area Schools from a financial perspective.

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