Evansville looks at 4K costs

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011
— Starting 4-year-old kindergarten in Evansville could cost $198,000 to $263,000 in the first year, but the program could bring in money in the second or third year, depending on the structure, according to estimates discussed at the district's board meeting Monday night.

Business manager Deb Olsen presented two examples based on Edgerton's and Milton's models for board members to review before deciding whether a study committee should be formed.

Both community-based models assume two teachers and two assistants would teach 96 students. Classes would be 2.5 hours a day, four days a week.

Here are the cost breakdowns:

-- District hires teachers: Based on Milton's model, the district would hire two full-time teachers while the day care center would hire the assistants. The cost estimates are based on the program starting next year, but District Administrator Heidi Carvin said the earliest 4K could start would be the 2012-2013 school year.

In the first year, the net anticipated cost is $262,860, which drops to $9,271 in the second year. By the third year, the program could bring in $297,686.

-- Center hires teachers and assistants: Based on Edgerton's model, the center would hire the teachers and assistants, and the district would pay a stipend of $203,674 to the centers in the first year, increasing by 2 percent annually.

In the first year, the net cost would be $197,845. In the second year, the program would bring in nearly $60,000, and that would increase to more than $370,000 in the third year.

"The real purpose of this is just to get some ballpark figures to decide if you want to at least have a study committee," Carvin said.

Board members said they would like more information about how 4K could work in Evansville, and they'll vote next month on creating a study committee. If a committee is formed, Carvin said, local preschools would be brought in to the discussion right away.

"I do think it's something that needs to be looked at more," board member Nancy Hurley said. "Clearly, we have parents who are interested. We have kindergarten and preschool teachers, or early-childhood teachers, who think it's valuable."

The 4K discussion started after a parent presented a petition last fall with nearly 100 signatures in support of starting a program.

The last time the district explored starting 4K, it failed mainly because of community indifference, Carvin said.

The district had an ad-hoc committee study the issue in 2006, but a lack of strong community support resulted in the board tabling the idea indefinitely, she said.

Last updated: 3:59 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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