More all-day kindergarten funds | VailDaily.com
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More all-day kindergarten funds

Matt Terrell
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The school district will receive more state money this year to fund full-day kindergarten, which educators say is critical to a child’s education.

Students who are in kindergarten all day perform better in math and reading than students who are in school only half a day, school leaders say. Sponge-like 5-year-olds can soak up more information than you could imagine, and ending kindergarten at noon would mean they’re missing out on a lot of learning.

The difficult part for the school district has been funding seven hours a day of kindergarten for more than 570 kids, which costs around $3.8 million, said Matt Earle, spokesman for the school district.

What isn’t covered by the state is paid for by the school district, a $250-a-month tuition paid by parents, and money raised by the Vail Valley Foundation, which will end its funding after this coming school year.

The state will give Eagle County schools about $2.2 million dollars for kindergarten, which is about $300,000 more than last year, Earle said. Colorado schools will, overall, receive $31.7 million more for kindergarten than they did last year.

The state will increase funding by about $10 million a year until 2013 and will eventually put $100 million a year into full-day kindergarten. This would come close to fully funding all-day kindergarten in Eagle County, Earle said.

School leaders had in the past said asking voters to approve a tax increase to pay for kindergarten was a possibility. That’s no longer being talked about, Earle said, as it appears that the state will increasingly pick up a larger portion of the bill.

“It’s a step in the right direction and in time we hope that the state can fully fund the program allowing all Colorado schools to take part,” said superintendent Sandra Smyser.

Staff Writer Matt Terrell can be reached at 970-748-2955 or mterrell@vaildaily.com.


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