School district tries to collect unpaid fees

Parents owe more than $4,200 for full-day kindergarten


— The first year of full-day kindergarten has presented a challenge for the Steamboat Springs School District.

The district is owed $4,237.45, as of Monday morning, from 13 parents of children who attended the program last year.

Superintendent Shalee Cunningham told School Board members last week that the district was actively calling parents in an effort to collect unpaid fees. At that time, the district was owed about $5,000.

On Monday, she said they had some success reaching parents and would continue to make phone calls. Cunningham said she wasn't sure what the next step would be if members struggled to collect all the outstanding fees.

The full-day kindergarten program began last year, after district parents requested it. A 2008 survey of 412 parents indicated overwhelming support for the program, with 362 asking for it.

Because the Colorado Department of Education provides funding for only half-day kindergarten, parents would have to foot the bill for full-day kindergarten.

In March 2008, the School Board approved tuition-based full-day kindergarten, which would begin for the 2008-09 school year. The district's initial cost estimate was $5,720, but it ended up costing parents $2,572 for the year.

The district elected to let parents pay a monthly fee, as opposed to paying a lump sum before the start of the school year.

School Board President Robin Crossan said Monday that she thought the current unpaid fees could be a result of the economy.

"But it doesn't negate the fact that their students attended kindergarten last year," she said. "I'm sure the district will work out a plan with the families."

In addition to phone calls, statements letting parents know their accounts are past due will be sent this week, said Debbie Ginesta, assistant to the superintendent, in an e-mail Monday.

"These accounts need to be paid before July 1," she wrote. July 1 is the start of the next fiscal year.

Last year, 80 students attended full-day kindergarten in four classes split between Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools. For 2009-10, 126 students have been enrolled. At Soda Creek, four classes will consist of 18 students each. And at Strawberry Park, there will be three classes, each with 18 students. Enrollment has been capped.

Each school also offers one half-day kindergarten class.

Next year's tuition for full-day kindergarten is $2,250. A 10 percent down payment is due Aug. 1. Monthly payments of $225 begin Sept. 1 and continue through May 1, 2010. The cost is $322 less than last year.


arnonep 7 years, 8 months ago

Yet another example of how patetic our community/society is. Why weren't the kids kicked out? Why is there not a list of names in the paper? Are the kids going to be allowed to start 1st grade? Is anyone taking bets on wether these parents voted for obamba? It's time to bring back public stoneing. Not that I advocate charging for public schooling, but don't buy it if you can't pay for it.


stephb 7 years, 8 months ago

I live in a low income household,(despite the fact that my husband and I work full time.) and yet still stay up to date on our daycare expenses. (400.00/mo. for two days/wk.) It comes directly from my check, full price. I would be interested to see the financial situations of the families who have neglected to pay... Bet they are not driving a "valley car" to come pick their kids up. If we can do it, they can do it. Bottom line.. Pay your bill!


aichempty 7 years, 8 months ago

How about asking the attorneys who worked on the school board case to donate enough to cover these costs?


Duke_bets 7 years, 8 months ago

arnonep - I'm not sure what this has to do with Obama? Yet, another example of having blinders on to reality and placing blame on politics. You can give up on that rant because it is truly pointless. And, if you can't spell or write a proper sentence, you probably shouldn't be spouting off in the first place.


mavis 7 years, 8 months ago

Duke- I believe what arnonep is trying to say is that they feel they are "owed" something and that everyone else can pay for it- so they won't- Which is a problem in my world

Whats pathetic here is that the district is charging for full day kindergarden- this school district blows through money like they have thier own money machine and I am not talking about the lawsuit its time people looked around and started holding them accountable.


Duke_bets 7 years, 8 months ago

mavis - I will not comment further on arnoinept.

I do agree with your second paragraph. I think South Routt in Yampa has had full day kindergarten for years and the cost is zero. Full days are great for kids of that age and it sure gives them a head start on the learning curve and discipline in a controlled environment.


Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

If Pat wants public stoning, Pat should get a medical marijuana license.

I believe that if RE-2 wants to eliminate the Pay for K, they need to find a way to incorporate it either into the Property Tax it already collects or find a way to incorporate it into the Sales Tax they already collect.


Martha D Young 7 years, 8 months ago

Thanks, Matthew. My sentiments exactly. While I agree with the goal of keeping class sizes small, I have no idea what is done with the rest of the sales tax money the district collects.


trump_suit 7 years, 8 months ago

I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is even a problem or a concern. Private education and public College/University deal with payments for schooling constantly.

The solution is simple. "No pay, no school" They did it for lunch money why is this even a story? Those parents should find themselves with liens and and automatic paycheck deductions until the balance is paid.


arnonep 7 years, 8 months ago

Duke, Obviously mavis gets it. With a name like Duke_bets, I would think you would be bookie. Always good to attack if you have no point. Matt, When I wrote that I figured some one would have to make the pot joke. Flogging was the other option.

I do feel that the school system needs to grow some stones and quit letting slacker parents take advantage.


Matthew Stoddard 7 years, 8 months ago

Pat- sorry! It had to be said, though. Just to easy. I could have made a joke the other way, but I was just to flogging busy to try.

I do agree with you, in concept. The School District should have collected in some way. I do honestly think that all-day K is a great thing, and could help working parents that can't afford daycare in this town. It's expensive, no doubt. It's also a way for young children to possibly start learning more at an earlier age.

In hindsight, it would have stunk to just turn the kids away, though. Still, it would only have turned them away for half the day, back to what they normally would have gone to. Hopefully, a plan can be affected before this happens again for the new school year.


jmemcse 7 years, 8 months ago

Never judge the houshould of a low income kindergarten family until you have driven a mile in their valley car...

Some of you judgmental people are to harsh for your own good.


Duke_bets 7 years, 8 months ago

arnonep - I don't find the attack you eldued to. I stated that you can't spell, which you can't. I also stated that bringing up politics in this is ridiculous. Both reflect on the mentality of the poster.

Good day!


arnonep 7 years, 7 months ago

Duke, So are we to believe that you think there is a possibility that any of the non-paying parents are Republicans? Or, that because you have a better spell checker, that your mentality can not be questioned and you have more right to an opinion? If you can get past my spelling handicap, what do you think the school/community should do the slackers that are not paying their bills?


Duke_bets 7 years, 7 months ago

arno - I've never had the need for spell check. The accounts should be suspended and sent off for collections. That is not an aberration. That is how most bad debts are collected. That is my point. I'm not sure why this made the news and I am certain it has nothing to do with politics. Your earlier comment on Obama would lead to a hail storm being caused by the Democrats.


stephb 7 years, 7 months ago

jmemcse, Hey, I hope you didn't take my post the wrong way... The point was, I drive a valley car, and we don't live above our means...My son comes first, hence that is why we pay our childcare bill timely. Its all in priority. steph


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