The Wedgwood View blog, as well as other local blogs, have shared important information regarding a survey that the Seattle Public School District is hosting over kindergarten school services and funding. Uncomfortable budget cuts are occurring across the State and the public school districts are no different with a $35 million budget gap. Therefore, they are considering an increase to the monthly rate for full-time kindergarten from $207 to $310 ($103 raise, 50% increase) as a step to address this gap.
It doesn’t appear that the School District has provided a lot of time to gather information, however. Survey results will technically be gathered through Friday, February 18th, although they’re requesting the survey to be completed by 3:00pm Wednesday, February 16th so they can discuss this within their budget work session.
The following is the text of the letter the School District sent out:
Dear SPS families and families with young children:
Seattle Public Schools, like all districts in Washington, is faced with an unprecedented budget gap for the 2011-2012 school year. The gap is $35 million, and we have been working with the School Board since last fall to find solutions. Some of the solutions agreed with the School Board include an approximate 20% cut in central office staff positions ($8.3 M savings); transportation plan changes ($2.3 to $4.0 M savings); possible furloughs (up to $3.9 M savings); and use of reserves ($2.3 M).
Our commitment is to reduce funding to individual schools only as a last resort. However, having explored all potential budget solutions, at this time we do not believe we can balance the budget for 2011-2012 without some direct impact to schools. So consideration is being given to reducing school funding via the Weighted Staffing Standard model by about $5.8 M. We are also considering making changes to funding for kindergarten, and we want your feedback.
The State of Washington funds only half-day kindergarten (there are a few exceptions to this for high poverty schools). For many years our district has added funding for a further half day to ensure there is one full-day kindergarten class available in every school. Over the years schools added additional full-day classes and “pay for Kindergarten” programs as more and more families wanted full-day K for their children.
For the 2010-11 school year, we implemented a standard $207 per month pay for full-day Kindergarten program across the district. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch also receive tuition waivers for full-day kindergarten.
With the severe budget crisis, we must consider various options to balance the budget and one is related to Kindergarten services. We want your feedback about these options.
CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY.
Please share this information with your friends and family, especially with families of young children who may be entering Kindergarten soon, so the School District has sufficient information to make an informed decision.