The proportion of public school kindergartners in Massachusetts who attend full-day programs continues to grow. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) reports that 80% attend full-day (FDK) programs, up from 38% in 2000. Despite the increased access, 80 districts charge tuition for their full-day programs. Statewide, 11.7% of students pay tuition for full-day kindergarten, up from 9.4% the previous year.
Research shows that children in FDK make more progress in early literacy, math and other skills than children in half-day programs. (Look at a map showing the communities in Massachusetts that offer full-day kindergarten.)
Meanwhile, as noted in a posting last week, funding for full-day kindergarten grants is on the agenda of the conference committee working to reconcile differences in the fiscal year 2012 budgets approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate. The House budget maintains funding at $22,948,947, the same as FY11. The Senate budget includes $20,948,947 for the grants, a cut of $2 million. Please join us for a conference call at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7, to review the Senate budget and discuss next steps for advocacy about full-day kindergarten and other line items related to early education and care. Click here to RSVP and receive instructions for the 1:30 p.m. call. Click here for more information about the state budget process.
Here are some highlights from ESE’s analysis of kindergarten data:
- In FY11, 164 districts received Quality Full-day Kindergarten grants. Of these, 140 provided universal full-day programs.
- Enrollment of students in full-day kindergarten grant programs increased statewide from 77% in FY10 to 80% in FY11. For grantee districts, the percentage of students enrolled in full-day kindergarten programs increased from 93% to 95%.
- Of the 306 districts that list a kindergarten enrollment in FY11, 276 (90%) provide partial or district-wide full-day kindergarten.
- In FY11, 80 districts across the state charge tuition for their full-day kindergarten programs. Of these districts, 38 are grantees and charge tuition with a sliding scale of $1,075 to $4,000 per child with an average of $2,857 per program. The other 42 districts that charge tuition are not grantees, and the average tuition in these 42 districts is $3,338. Some of these districts offer a sliding fee scale while others do not.The average statewide tuition for full-day kindergarten is $3,110.
- Three grantees eliminated tuition starting in FY11—Taunton Public Schools, Winthrop Public Schools and Narragansett Regional School District.
- The average class size in grant-funded full-day kindergarten classes is 19 and the average teacher:child ratio is 1:10.
- 59% of full-day classrooms have full-time instructional assistants while 37% have part-time instructional assistants (average full-time equivalency is .52). The remaining 4% of grant-funded full-day kindergarten classes do not have instructional assistants.