Kentucky may potentially fully fund Kindergarten classes

EDMONTON Ky.-Kindergarten is one step before students enter the first grade. While most local school districts provide full kindergarten days, the state currently pays for only half, meaning the school districts foot the rest of the bill.

“That’s quite a burden. The opportunity to do full day Kindergarten would free up a lot of resources that each district could figure out how to use to better meet their own student’s needs,” said Kentucky Department Of Education member Dr. Gary Houchens.

The Kentucky Department of Education is looking to the state to pay 100%.

With early childhood education being a high priority, Metcalfe County Superintendent Dr. Benny Lile said full day Kindergarten classes are the building blocks to a successful learning experience.

“We know it’s in the best interest of the child. We know it’s in the best interest to give them a full school day. It’s going to help them as they prepare for the remainder of their school career with us as they go into primary programs,” Lile said.

Those who teach Kindergarten say it makes sense that kindergarten be fully funded, but they’re thankful that local districts are willing to pitch in.

“I cannot imagine what it would be like to have my students for just half a day. It would be less time with them, less lessons that are being taught,” said Metcalfe County Elementary Kindergarten teacher Jenny Stotts-Lundy.

Lile said it would be a good choice for the state to fully fund Kindergarten. Without full days, students would be trying to catch up when first grade rolls along. The money being spent paying the other half can be used for other student benefits instead.

“We want to take those savings and go ahead and put them into something that would be a resource and a support for students in the other grade levels as well,” Lile said.

In the end, Lile said full Kindergarten funding would be especially useful if the funding came from a new source.

“I think most of my colleagues and I would agree that in order to realize the benefit of this, it needs to be new funding, and in order for our communities to realize and the burden taken off them, that it would be new funding as well,” Lile said.

This January, the General Assembly will meet to decide whether to fully fund Kindergarten in Kentucky.