All-day kindergarten rates go up as district awaits decision
By PAMELA WILLIS
Published: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
6:24 PM EST
The Worthington City School District's Kindergarten Plus
program currently is enrolling students, although the future
of the all-day program may be in the hands of state
Parent Amy Krohn told school board members at their Feb. 28
meeting that this fall's tuition increase for the program,
from $220 to $290, is not sitting well with many parents.
"The tuition hike is a big concern for some parents," she
said. "Some are saying they can't afford to send their kids
to the all-day program."
Krohn said she has a son in second grade at Bluffsview
Elementary School and a daughter who will start kindergarten
next school year.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Glasbrenner said the increase
was necessary to try to keep the program close to "cost
Current state legislation required the district to lower
fees last fall to 2008-09 levels, which was $220 per month,
when the fees were at $230 per month, Glasbrenner said.
"If we do have the ability to charge tuition this coming
school year, it would be $290 per month for nine months," he
said. "What we are trying to do is keep the program
cost-neutral for our taxpayers. The increase will cover the
cost of the additional staffing we have to have to offer the
Parents can begin the kindergarten registration process
online by visiting the district website,
and clicking on the "district information" link at the
toolbar at the top of the page, then clicking "new student
The first cutoff date for application to enroll students in
their home school of choice is at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March
The open enrollment deadline is April 20, when students have
a chance for enrollment, but not necessarily at their home
Glasbrenner said 74 percent of the district's kindergarten
students, or 515, are enrolled in the all-day program.
State legislation implemented last year required all
districts to offer an all-day program for the 2011-12 school
year at no charge to parents, but that unfunded mandate
would cost Worthington schools more than $1 million per
year, said Superintendent Melissa Conrath.
Conrath said many school districts, including Worthington,
applied for state waivers this year so they could postpone
offering an all-day program taxpayers would have to fund.
"We are hopeful legislation will be passed soon so we can
continue offering the fee-based program," she said.
Glasbrenner said if legislation reversing the mandate does
not pass, school board members will have to decide if all
Worthington kindergarten students will be enrolled in the
half-day program, thus eliminating the all-day program for
this coming school year, or if the district can absorb the
cost of the program and offer it to parents free of charge.
He said the student selection process, which begins March
17, is by lottery at each school. Names are drawn of
students whose parents are interested in the program, and
those students are more likely to attend a program at their
home school. Other students may be enrolled in the program
in kindergarten classrooms at other elementary buildings.
Glasbrenner said he hopes the district can continue the
all-day kindergarten program.
"I think it is one of the strongest programs we have in our
district," he said. "When you look at intervention and
enrichment, it covers the spectrum. We have offered the
program since 2002; it has become a part of the fabric of