November 07, 2012 - The Mehlville School District should be able to offer tuition-free, full-day kindergarten for the 2013-2014 school year, according to a preliminary enrollment analysis.
Superintendent Eric Knost told the Call slightly more than 500 children registered during the district's enrollment week, which ran from Oct. 22 to Oct. 26.
"That's where it gets tricky," Knost told the Call, "because that's way up from what we typically have when we have (enrollment) in January."
Knost said the increase during the enrollment week needs to be factored in, along with the number of additional students enrolling from January to August.
Without doing "below-the-surface analyzing" and just adding average numbers on top of the enrollment week numbers, Knost said it puts the numbers right in the 600 to 650 range, which is where they should be for the endeavor to be revenue neutral.
"That's exciting because it proves that we wouldn't have too many (students)," he said, "and it proves that with the additional numbers that we typically get over the spring into the summer months that it means we have enough (students for free, full-day kindergarten)."
The superintendent said district officials still are analyzing the numbers for Mehlville's 10 elementary schools and trying to create a "confidence interval" to account for additional students who will enroll.
"Right now, based on what we've analyzed so far, I am pretty confident I will be recommending (tuition-free, full-) day kindergarten for 2013-'14, just with the caveat that we're still analyzing and that could change as we finalize everything," he said.
Knost also told the Call he believes tuition-free, full-day kindergarten will be revenue neutral, but he is "going to spend some more time making sure."
Knost presented information to the Board of Education in September that showed an average of 650 full-day kindergarten students would "fully pay for (the program)."
The 650-student average would allow for reimbursement from the state to cover the cost of 14 additional teachers and classroom supplies, according to the information provided the board.
Knost said he intends to discuss full-day kindergarten at the board's Nov. 29 meeting, at which time he expects to make the recommendation for tuition-free, full-day kindergarten for the coming school year.