Expanded Full-Day Kindergarten Moves Ahead Slowly in Indiana
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2006 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Gov. Mitch Daniels failed to win the $250 million more in funding for full-day kindergarten that he had sought in the recently completed legislative session. But lawmakers did boost two-year funding for state kindergarten grants to $92 million, a $75 million increase, in approving a budget for fiscal years 2008 and 2009.
Full-day kindergarten has been the top education priority for Gov. Daniels, a Republican in the third year of his first term. He originally had requested that it be implemented statewide over a three-year period.
But after some concerns about cost, transportation, and classroom space arose, legislators decided instead to increase the number of grants available for full-day kindergarten. About 30,000 Indiana kindergartners now attend a full-day program made possible through some combination of federal Title I funding, state grants, local general-fund dollars, and parents’ fees. About 10,000 of those student spots are supported by the current $8.5 million in state grants.
The K-12 general-fund appropriation for the two-year budget is about $8.6 billion, out of a $26.3 billion total state budget, representing about a 3.7 percent increase in education funding in each of the next two years.
Schools statewide will receive $39 million for both years for textbooks for lower-income students. Funding for testing and remediation also was increased, from $31.5 million a year to $41 million a year.
Vol. 26, Issue 38, Page 21