Keno-garten could help communities like Milford offer full-day kindergarten

Milford canceled its plans to offer a full-day kindergarten program this fall, which would have cost parents $510 per month, due to low enrollment and lack of funding, reported the Cabinet Press. Milford voters approved the program in May, and the School Board said that they would revisit it in 2019 when additional state funding from the “Keno-garten” bill will take effect:

In a letter to parents, schools Superintendent Robert Marquis said only 21 children had been signed up as of July 17 and 32 had been expected. Twenty-one was not enough for the program to be self-supporting, he said.

“It was a very tough decision,” School Board Chairman Ron Carvell said by phone Tuesday. “I really wanted (full-day kindergarten), but it would have cost taxpayers money.”

The program was intended to pay for itself by charging $510 a month, with parents who could afford it bearing the extra costs for students who needed financial help.

Carvell said that next year the board may take another look at expanding kindergarten based on what the state does.

Because Milford’s program was designed to be tuition-based and self-funding, the district wouldn’t have seen any of the additional state funding.

“It really depends on the state’s position and what we can afford,” Carvell said.

Marquis, who strongly supports the idea of full-day kindergarten, said last week that the board tried to find a balance while looking at declining enrollments and already high taxes and decided not to put the additional burden of a full-day program on taxpayers.

“I am sincerely sorry to share this news,” Marquis said in his letter. “It was my hope and the hope of the School Board that this would have been a program that would have truly benefited students and families – and as a result would have been expanded in the following years.”

Last week, Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Superintendent Bryan Lane told the Monadnock Ledger that full-day kindergarten would be one of the district’s strategic planning priorities and the additional state funding would play into those talks.

Source: Full-day kindergarten canceled in Milford | Cabinet Press