Derry to charge tuition for all-day kindergarten

Friday, March 4, 2011

DERRY - Families will now have a chance to send their children to kindergarten all day.

Derry school officials decided to set a tuition rate of $3,200 per child to institute a full-day kindergarten program next year.

The program could mean about $500,000 in revenue to offset losses in state education funding.

Officials decided to send out an initial notice to families to see what they would like in a full-day program, and how much interest there is.

Tuition fees will pay for the teacher and benefits, so the new program would not impact next year's budget at all.

"There is no cost to the district," Superintendent Mary Ellen Hannon said. "That would not be acceptable. We have a very tight budget next year."

That budget includes slashing millions of dollars from the current budget after a shortfall in state funding was announced. Staff will be cut and programs will be restructured.

Adding a full-day kindergarten program was one solution to help offset some of the budget losses.

Classes will be located at all Derry elementary schools. Parents will also have the option of keeping their children in the regular half-day program. Full-day students will ride the bus to school in the morning and then home in the afternoon.

As part of next year's budget, the midday bus will be eliminated.

Hannon said many parents are interested in the full-day option for their young students.

"Many calls are coming in for the program," she said. "We have a lot of anxious parents. Every school will have a full day and a half day. That's the plan now."

The full-day kindergarten option will not take anything away from what the children receive by only attending school part of the day, Hannon said.

"Parents won't feel they've been shortchanged by having children in the half-day program," she said.

Reading, math and other curriculum be the same in both programs.

By Julie Huss

Copyright (c) 2011, The Derry News, N.H.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


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