Full-day kindergarten for the haves and have-nots

Apr 14, 2013 by

Unless something changes at the Legislature, some parents will have to pay $3,200 for their child’s full-day kindergarten class in the Clark County School District next school year.

At the same time, other parents won’t have to pay to send their children to full-day kindergarten in the district.

“It’s unfair,” Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Reno, said. “We basically have a private school system within our public school system. … I think it’s a huge inequity, and I personally think it shouldn’t be allowed.”

The two-tiered system sets the School District up for “some litigation risks,” said Sylvia Lazos, a UNLV law professor.

The system could be challenged in court, she said.

The state’s constitution says says that “the Legislature shall provide for a uniform system of common schools” and that the Legislature must fund schools before spending money on anything else. The Legislature, in partnership with local governments, must specifically pay for the “operation of the public schools in the state for kindergarten through grade 12.”

But a conflicting choice — the state level versus the district level — sets up a system of haves and have-nots.

Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to expand subsidized full-day kindergarten to the schools with the highest numbers of students living in poverty. At the same time, the district is allowing tuition-based, full-day kindergarten at 53 schools that don’t qualify for state funding but have enough classroom space to accommodate the students.

Smith said the “pay for K” programs leave lower middle-class families left out. The state subsidizes the poorest students while wealthier families can afford $3,200 for full-day kindergarten.

via Full-day kindergarten for the haves and have-nots – Las Vegas Sun News.

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