Gov. Sam Brownback says the budget recommendation he will send to the state legislature in January for fiscal year 2015 will include $16 million to fund all-day kindergarten across the state.
The state currently pays for half-day kindergarten. Some schools offer full-day classes, but require parents to pay for the additional costs. Other school districts absorb the cost as part of the local budget.
The State Board of Education has recommended all-day kindergarten as a way to give students a better start at mastering skills, especially reading, by fourth grade.
Strategic investment in preparing children for success
"This is a strategic investment in helping our children be better prepared for success in school," Brownback said in a prepared release. "Numerous studies show that all-day kindergarten results in students who are more involved, productive and ready to read at appropriate grade levels."
"I am extremely pleased with Governor Brownback's announcement to recommend funding for all-day kindergarten for Kansas children," said Diane DeBacker, Education Commissioner. "This increased funding to Kansas schools will give much-needed relief to those districts already funding all-day kindergarten but, most importantly, give all of our youngest students the opportunity to attend school. Investment in early learning for our children will reap tremendous benefits in the years to come."
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat who is running for governor in 2014, said he supported putting more money in early childhood education, as well as increasing overall spending to levels not seen since the Great Recession hit in 2008.
"All-day kindergarten fees have gone up dramatically for parents across Kansas because he made the largest cut to public education funding in state history," Davis said, referring to Brownback. "The No. 1 priority should be restoring the cuts Gov. Brownback already made and fully funding our schools."