State funding for full day kindergarten increased by $107.9 million for the 2012-2013 school year, reaching a total of $189.8 million. The funds will be distributed December 14 to 338 public school corporations and charter schools for the 79,110 students who enrolled in full day kindergarten programs this year. In 2011-2012, 66,401students were enrolled in full day kindergarten programs, with a total state funding distribution of $81.9 million.
This year’s rapid increase in enrollment and funding is the result of 2012 legislation spearheaded by Governor Mitch Daniels and passed by Indiana lawmakers to guarantee $2,400 per full day kindergarten student. The funding is provided through the Full Day Kindergarten Grant, which was created in 2005 and represents one of the key education policies in the Governor’s first term.
In LaGrange County, the Westview School District will receive $633,600, with a Full Day Kindergarten count of 264 students.
Lakeland Schools has 189 Full Day Kindergarten students, and will get $453,600.
Prairie Heights is expected to receive $192,000 from the state for 80 Full Day Kindergartners.
“Governor Daniels put a much needed and long overdue focus on early childhood education in Indiana, and he fulfilled his promise to provide funds for all students whose families choose to enroll their children in full day kindergarten programs,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. “Today’s discussions about expanding learning opportunities for our youngest students would not be possible without his efforts and achievements to boost full day kindergarten in our state.”
In the past, funds were dedicated to the Full Day Kindergarten Grant fund in the state budget and the money was divided equally among all students enrolled in full day kindergarten programs at qualifying schools and districts. In its first year (2005), the fund distributed $8.5 million to 10,247 students—providing about $830 per full day kindergarten student. Last year, the fund provided $1,234 per student.
The 2012 law requires that public school districts and charter schools applying to receive the grant funds agree not to charge parents tuition fees for their full day kindergarten programs. All Indiana public school districts that offer full day kindergarten, 290 total, applied for the funds and agreed to the no-tuition requirement. Forty-nine charter schools offer full day kindergarten and receive support through the Full Day Kindergarten Grant.
In addition to the $2,400 per student allocation schools receive through the Full Day Kindergarten Grant fund, they also receive one-half the per student allocation for the district.