Many times people send letters and they don't get published in the Webster-Kirkwood Times. Here is one that should be if it won't be published from Jill Coakley.
I am so glad the KSD Chief Financial Officer is here to “answer questions and listen to concerns” (WKT 8/14/15). Maybe I can get some long-overdue, honest answers about the true cost of full-day kindergarten. Back in 2004, KSD wanted to increase the FDK tuition because supposedly tuition (just under $2,000) didn’t nearly cover the actual costs. The school board was told teacher salaries and benefits were not the only costs to be considered. The school board was told the true cost of FDK was one half the per pupil expenditure for each student. (See KSD Board minutes 1/20/2004.) This means FDK currently costs nearly $6000 per student or over $2.2 million annually. We are in the fourth year of free FDK. By this calculation, FDK has cost KSD around $9 million.
Yet when KSD wanted to offer free FDK to everyone, including families making six-and seven-figure incomes, the cost of FDK miraculously dropped. All of a sudden the cost of FDK was a mere $850,000 ($530,000 of lost tuition +$420,000 of increased salaries/benefits - $100,000 of additional state revenue). But that’s less than $2300 per student. FDK tuition maxed out at $3600. Was KSD overcharging parents for years? Will families get a refund? What caused the drastic change in calculating the cost of FDK? That $530,000 doesn’t include the over $100,000 KSD subsidized FDK for families not paying full tuition. Why was that not included? Why were salary and benefits the only additional costs added if the KSD Assistant Superintendent had briefed the board that FDK cost more than salary and benefits?
When I pressed the KSD Chief Financial Officer for clarification on the costs of FDK I was told the $850,000 was in addition to current costs, but he refused to elaborate. Now, maybe he will.