To encourage more families to begin their child’s education early, Grapevine-Colleyville school officials plan to add a tuition-based pre-kindergarten program next fall.
The full-day pre-kindergarten will include students who are paying $600 a month and others who are eligible for a much-reduced payment or free attendance based on income.
“The earlier we can work with students on their literacy skills and social and emotional needs, the better they learn,” said Shiela Shiver, executive director of instructional leadership.
Students who have attended pre-kindergarten have fewer needs for special education or repeating a grade and higher achievement in later school years, Shiver said.
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The state pays districts to offer a half-day program to eligible 4-year-olds. Students who are eligible must qualify by meeting one of the requirements: living in a low-income household, having limited or no English skills, being the child of an active duty military service member or of a veteran wounded or killed while on duty, being homeless or being in the foster care system.
A full-day program would provide more educational benefits than a half-day program, officials said.
The earlier we can work with students on their literacy skills and social and emotional needs, the better they learn.
Shiela Shiver, executive director of instructional leadership
Shiver said, “Our overall vision is to offer a full day for our eligible students.
“We can only do that by going to a tuition-based program.”
Tuition would cover all the costs for the full-day pre-K classes, including teachers, aides, curriculum and classroom furnishings.
Parents and guardians of more than half of the 200 eligible students said in a GCISD survey that they would like to have a full day option.
For families paying full tuition, the cost would be $600 a month for 10 months plus $125 for registration and $125 for supplies and activities. Based on family income, eligible students would pay from nothing up to $150 a month and $75 for registration.
Some 84 families signed up for an April 1 lottery for the full tuition pre-kindergarten. The lottery was to determine which school the student would attend. Administrators projected there would be 10 tuition students in two pre-K classes at Bear Creek Elementary, 30 in two classes at Bransford Elementary, 20 in one class at Colleyville Elementary and 34 in two classes at O.C. Taylor Elementary. The classes are capped at 22 students each.
Families in both the full tuition and and reduced or free program have until April 15 to pay their registration fees to reserve their places.
At the March 28 board meeting, trustees voted 6-1 to approve the tuition pre-kindergarten. Board President Leon Leal cast the dissenting vote. Leal said he was concerned the program would not sustain itself and would negatively impact the district’s budget.
Shiver said administrators would reduce the number of classes for the year if not enough paying students committed to the program.