Committee Discusses Fair Kindergarten Funding
By Kealey Bultena
A bill that changes kindergarten funding is on its way to the Senate floor.
Proponents don’t want to pay full price for part time attendance. Senator Deb Peters says the state pays the same amount of money for all kindergarteners, whether they are in school full time or just go for half the day. Peters says that gives districts with half-day kindergarten more money for less class time.
"They have the a.m. kindergarten and the p.m. kindergarten. That teacher is classified as one full time teacher, but the school district, I would like to remind you, gets paid double for that one teacher," Peters says.
But Diana Miller represents a dozen large South Dakota school districts. She says dollars that come in for kindergarteners benefit students district-wide.
"Every district uses funds generated by younger students to fund their comprehensive program, either by reducing class size in some grades and therefore allowing the money to be used locally," Miller says. "The reality is that younger students cost less to educate than older students."
The measure passed the Senate Education Committee by a vote of four to three.
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