Parents of full-day kindergartners in Huron will no longer pay tuition, but they might not get a refund of tuition already paid.
Huron City Schools' attorneys concluded the district will comply with Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann's opinion that public schools can't charge tuition. Dann issued his opinion Sept. 5 at the request of the Ohio Department of Education.
The decision will cost the district $8,000 a month. Huron charged $2,000 -- $200 a month -- for full-day kindergarten. The tuition was meant to cover teachers' salary and benefits and supplies for the classes.
A total of 40 students, two classes of 20 pupils each, attend full-day kindergarten in Huron this year.
Whether the district will refund the $15,000 in tuition already collected is still under review by the district's lawyers. Refunding the money could violate a portion of Ohio law that says school boards can only approve expenditures that serve a public purpose, said district Treasurer Mike Weis.
Because the tuition was legitimately billed before the opinion, it is unclear whether issuing refunds is within the board's power.
"We want it to be clear we aren't refusing to give refunds, we just want to handle the matter legally," Weis said.
Meanwhile, full-day kindergarten will continue for the rest of the school year, Weis said.
The district will pick up the remainder of the year's expenses, which amount to at least $65,000 and could total $80,000 if tuition can be refunded.
The school board will need to decide whether to continue offering full-day kindergarten in future years or return to half-day kindergarten only. The district does not charge tuition for half-day kindergarten.
Proposed legislation could allow the district to charge tuition for full-day kindergarten in the future.