Schools can charge for kindergarten

HURON Huron full-day kindergarten parents: Get your checkbooks out. Gov. Ted Strickland has given Hu
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Huron full-day kindergarten parents: Get your checkbooks out. Gov. Ted Strickland has given Huron City Schools the go-ahead to charge for full-day kindergarten after all.

Strickland signed into law Wednesday a bill that allows districts to charge for full-day kindergarten as long as the district is not receiving poverty aid.

"Huron doesn't receive that. So, now that it is law, we are going to resume billing," said Superintendent Fred Fox.

In late September, Huron City Schools stopped collecting tuition for full-day kindergarten classes after Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann issued an opinion that public schools can't charge tuition. Dann issued his opinion Sept. 5 at the request of the Ohio Department of Education.

At the time, the district decided not to reimburse tuition money already collected and awaited legislative intervention.

School leaders said Dann's take on tuition would have cost the district $8,000 a month. Huron charges $2,000 -- $200 a month -- for full-day kindergarten. The tuition is meant to cover teacher salaries 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.

The law Strickland signed requires that districts use a sliding scale when charging for kindergarten. Huron's scale is determined by a student's eligibility for free or reduced lunch.

If a student receives free lunches, full-day kindergarten is free. If a student receives reduced lunches, the cost of full-day kindergarten is half-price. For everyone else, full-day kindergarten is $2,000 per year.

Fox said the district charges tuition for full-day kindergarten because the state only funds half-day kindergarten.

"I guess when the state of Ohio starts funding kindergarten for all day, we'll stop charging," Fox said. "I think it's probably less than you'd spend if you sent them to daycare."

For people paying the full $2,000 for 180 days of school, it averages to about $11.11 per day.