Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School District has lowered the tuition for all-day kindergarten. Parents will now pay $3,203 for full-day classes, instead of the initial estimate of $5,720 per student.
This is the first year full-day kindergarten has been offered in Steamboat, and the cost equates to $18 per day. Scholarships are also available through the district.
Parents can still register their students or switch to all-day kindergarten courses at the "Camp Soda Creek" offices in the 300 block of 7th Street.
Enrollment for all elementary students, from both schools, is available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning today.
The district will offer four all-day kindergarten classes and four half-day classes for the next school year, with two of each at Strawberry Park Elementary and Soda Creek Elementary.
Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said district officials have been working on lowering the cost since the initial estimates came out.
"We've just been crunching numbers and trying to work it," she said. "We got it down to something we thought was reasonable."
The state provides only 58 percent of a regular student's funding for all-day kindergarten programs, forcing districts to find other ways to make up the money.
Parent Beth Wilhelm, whose daughter Sophia Gowdy is enrolled in the all-day course, said it was a relief to hear the price had dropped, but she was committed to sending her daughter to full-day classes regardless of the cost.
"The price was definitely a concern for a lot of people I know. They decided not to enroll because of it," she said. "We had to decide what was best for our child."
Judy Harris, principal of Soda Creek Elementary, said it was a long process to get the costs for parents lowered.
"We promised parents last spring when we made the estimated tuition that we didn't know what all the costs would be, and we've been working on it since then," she said. "I'm so pleased. Even though there have been times we've had false starts : I'm glad we were able to get it going now instead of putting it off for planning a year or two."
Even though the costs are lower than expected, they are still higher than other Routt County districts. All-day kindergarten at South Routt Elementary School is free, while tuition for the course at Hayden Valley Elementary is $1,092 a year.
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