By Samm Quinn
More than 400 Indiana public and charter schools will begin receiving what amounts to an increase in funding of more than $100 million for students enrolled in full-day kindergarten.
Together schools will receive $189 million for the 79,110 students who were enrolled into full-day kindergarten this school year.
The funding increase comes from legislation passed during the 2012 legislation that guaranteed $2,400 per full-day kindergartner; it's funded through the Full Day Kindergarten Grant, which was created during Gov. Mitch Daniel's first term.
"Gov. Daniels put a much needed and long overdue focus on early childhood education in Indiana, and he fulfilled his promise to provide funds for all students whose families choose to enroll their children in full day kindergarten programs," said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.
In its first year, the grant gave schools $830 per full-day kindergarten student, and last year schools received $1,234.
"Today's discussions about expanding learning opportunities for our youngest students would not be possible without his (Daniels') efforts and achievements to boost full day kindergarten in our state," Bennett said.
School had to apply to receive the funding, and the new legislation blocks the schools from charging tuition fees for the full day kindergartners.
In addition to the grant, schools will also receive one half the per student allocation for the district.
After signing the bill into law, Daniels said the legislation was an 8-year endeavor for his administration.
One out of seven 5-year-olds had access to full day kindergarten in 2006, Daniels said, and now students across the state are able to attend if their parents wish.
Samm Quinn is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.