Seattle Public Schools announced today that it will add free all-day kindergarten at 16 more elementary schools, including Greenwood and Viewlands. That means 43 out of the city’s 69 elementary schools will now provide free all-day kindergarten to all students, instead of charging for half a day for students who don’t qualify for free and reduced price lunch.
And, if the School Board approves it at its Nov. 20 meeting, the district also will reduce the monthly amount for those still paying for the extra half-day from $311 to $283, retroactive to Sept. 1.
If approved by the Board, families who use automatic withdrawal will have their money credited back to their bank accounts by Jan. 31; those who paid by credit card will receive a refund check by Jan 31.
According to a school district press release, the money comes from a change in how the District can use $2.4 million from the state’s Learning Assistance Program.
“We know that early learning is key to our students’ success, and attending full-day kindergarten helps prepare our students academically and socially for the rest of their school career,” Cashel Toner, Director of Early Learning for Seattle Public Schools, said in the press release. “This proposal means that an additional 770 students can take advantage of full-day kindergarten at no cost.”
The state currently funds full-day kindergarten for schools that are at 50 percent population of students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch, including Broadview-Thomson K-8, just north of Greenwood. The district will now offer it to all schools with 25 percent free and reduced price lunch. The state legislature has said it plans to fully fund all-day kindergarten in all schools by 2017.