Haysville schools to offer all-day kindergarten at no added cost

HAYSVILLE, Kansas – As the state remains deadlocked on whether to fund Gov. Brownback’s proposal to offer all-day kindergarten in Kansas public schools, Haysville’s school district is moving forward with plans to offer it to families at no additional cost.

USD 261 had been offering all-day kindergarten but charging parents a monthly fee for the program, but it will be free to families in the next school year.

“Next year in that extended time they’ll have a two-hour reading block every day, and a one-hour math block,” Teresa Tosh, an assistant superintendent for learning services at the Haysville school district, said. “They’ll get almost double the instruction they’re getting now. It’s going to be huge for our kids.”

The move will cost the district about $450,000 for the first year.

It will be spent to hire seven new teachers, get new classroom equipment, and make several librarians full-time employees.

It comes as Brownback and state lawmakers debate whether to fund all-day kindergarten statewide, at an estimated cost of $16 million annually.

“The message it sends is investing in our kids,” Tosh said. “At USD 261, that’s important to us. It would be nice to have that investment across the state.”

Parents in Haysville were happy to hear about the district’s plans to move forward.

“The extra time in school is always great,” parent Mindy Cliffton said. “It gives teachers more time to go through their lessons, and the kids will have time to learn what they need to.”

“I think it’s a good idea, especially for the parents who otherwise have to find something else for their kids,” Doug Carey added.

The district was ready to move forward with the plan regardless of any decisions made by the state, Tosh said.

“Anytime you have those programs funded, and it’s the right thing for kids, it’s going to make an impact, so making that investment in our homes and our communities, and our kids is a long-term investment for the state of Kansas,” she said.

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