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Lindbergh Board of Education approves $50-per-month hike for all-day kindergarten

The Lindbergh Board of Education agreed last week to a $50-per-month increase for all-day kindergarten tuition.

The increase will be effective for the 2004-2005 school year.

The fee for all-day kindergarten for 2002-2003 was $200 per month. That jumped to $225 this school year and will be $275 when 2004-2005 classes begin in the fall.

The increase is a result of the difficult financial times for the district, according to Pat Lanane, the district's assistant superintendent of finance.

"We certainly don't like this situation, but we can't be in a situation where we can't cover costs," Lanane told the Call. "We're in a dollars crunch. When you're in a dollars crunch, you look at more ways to bring in money."

The state requires schools to offer half-day kindergarten, but all-day kindergarten is optional.

Lanane said taxpayers should not be burdened with the cost of an optional program.

Nancy Rathjen, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the Call about 170 pupils are registered for all-day kindergarten classes this school year — a number that increases slightly each year.

All-day kindergarten is offered at all five of the school district's elementary schools. Truman Elementary offers three all-day classes.

About half of next year's kindergarten pupils already have been registered, Lanane said. He hopes the increase doesn't lower registration, he said, but the fee is reasonable.

"You'd have to suppose that some people might say that's too much," he said. "You just hope that doesn't happen."

He added, "We looked at our fee vs. other school districts, and ours has been really low. The increase will put us in the middle compared to other area districts."

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