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Parents Upset At Longmeadow Cost of Kindergarten

SchoolLONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB) — Last month Longmeadow’s School Committee voted 6-1, to charge $3,000 per student to enroll in full-time Kindergarten.

Before then, admission to that program was run on a lottery basis, and cost $4,100 per child.

The committee began looking at the issue in September, holding community meetings in November & December, ahead of January’s vote.

Superintendent Marie Doyle, and committee Chairman Michael Clark say no one believes there should be a charge for kindergarten, but the town is already looking at a projected $350,000 budget deficit.

A fully funded kindergarten would take away things like music programs for grades 1-12.

Parents like Stephanie Jasmin are not happy with the situation. “I imagine it would be very burdensome to parents to have to come up with $600 in less than 1 months’ time, and feel as if you do not do that, you risk the child not going to their home school placement. If you put your child in half day, you risk doing a huge disservice to your child,” she said.

Clarke says if there is a family having trouble coming up with the $600 deposit by the February 28th deadline, there are ways they can work with them. There are many Western Mass cities and towns that qualify for federal aid in this type of situation, and it takes income into account.

Longmeadow isn’t one of them.

To put it in perspective East Longmeadow is eligible. Even with a grant, full time kindergarten still costs $2650. “This has been ok in the past when the half day program and full day program were the same curriculum. It’s not ok now that Massachusetts has adopted the common core standards that make it impossible for the half day to meet those standards.

Superintendent Doyle remarked that full day kindergarten means more exposure, technology use, and a relaxed learning pace. However, teachers are working on curriculum packets for parents to supplement half day students.

The half-day program remains free.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • WMassMom75

    So school-choice your kid somewhere else. Then Longmeadow has to pay for their education elsewhere. If everyone did that, it would send a pretty clear message. Families should not have to pay for a public education. If Longmeadow wants to privatize, fine, start charging every student to attend. Until then, children have the right to be educated in the public school system at no charge.

  • ItsMeSpfld

    A lot of people are missing the point that kindergarten in Longmeadow is free. They have the option of 1/2 day FREE kindergarten, or paying to send their children off for full days. Even if they make the latter choice, their child may not go full days, as it’s on a lottery system, with limited slots available. So, no, they don’t CHARGE for their public kindergarten, just for their full day option. This is not unique, most towns in the area do it and have been doing it for years!!!

    • longmeadowmom

      What is unique is the Longmeadow school system is stating that the 1/2 program cannot teach the children everything they need to know in the half day program. Yes, they have been charging for years, but they have always stated that the 1/2 and full day programs were equal in educational content.

  • longmeadowparent

    Agawam along with every other community in the area receives state aid to assist in funding for their full day Kindergarden. Longmeadow does not.

  • longmeadowparent

    All the surrounding towns, Agawam, West Springfield, Springfield, Holyoke all receive state grants to offset costs for their full day kindergarten program. Even East Longmeadow charges a fee of $2650. and they receive grant money. After having multiple public forums that this woman clearly did NOT attend. Longmeadow is making full day available because they heard loud and clear from the people that attended the open forums and participated in the surveys they sent out. People WANT the full day option even if they have to pay. I have heard people actually happy that they made the tuition in to a multiple payment situation instead of the way it was before with 2 large lump sums. Personally I was shocked when I moved to this town from the eastern part of the state, that I couldn’t get in to full day because of the lottery system. I fully expected to pay because that’s how it was where we were in eastern mass. But to not get in because of a lottery system was extremely frustrating to me. You can’t please everyone.

  • weasel

    Breakdown the costs. I bet they are applying overhead in that cost that is already being paid for in taxes and administrative cost. Typical Government. Enjoy your Health Care.