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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nostalgia: 2008: 4k: The analysis: Melissa Hammann

TUESDAY, JANUARY 15, 2008 4K The Analysis Now I’d like to briefly review the financial aspect of the 4K-committee report. Please refer to the attached Excel file (4K Committee Financial Data). For the sake of clarity, I’ll restrict my discussion to the half-day options requiring additional bus service. In the pilot year, if you factor in the standard local revenue match of 33% ($25,200) the school district will have to provide about $40,000 in 2007-2008 to fund the 4K pilot study, thereby denying some other program. It finally dawned on me why there was such an unexplained urgency to cut off the half-day (five-year-old) kindergarten program, one of the bastions of reason in our school district. I have included the local revenue in my analysis because I want to re-emphasize that there will be additional local revenue commitments required to provide 4K in Evansville. The calculation for full implementation in 2008-2009 was predicted on a conservative estimate of 100 participants. The current kindergarten enrollment is 130. This level of enrollment would require another teacher, another assistant, more physical plant and possibly another bus. For purposes of discussion, I will only consider the 100-student scenario. The 4K report I have from the committee showed the sum of expenditures to be $214,000. Perhaps I have a preliminary version. When I started to figure in the local matches to calculate shortfalls, it was clear there was a math error. I double-checked the figures and came up with $289,000 in projected expenditures. Subtracting the state revenue of $140,000 and the local match of $70,000, it will cost the district $79,000 to fully implement 4K in 2008-2009. The administration told the board that the school district “can’t afford” to keep a half-day kindergarten option, placed Gifted and Talented services on the chopping block and scaled back the AP program. I submit to you that the school district also doesn’t have a spare $119,000 to pilot and implement a program that “has no proven societal or educational benefits.” The administration’s concern that the state will soon require 4K is unfounded in light of the recent political climate. The legislature just established the task force to “study” the issue. These things are notoriously slow to complete. The prudent approach is to wait to see if and when the DPI states “by the year 2XYZ, all Wisconsin schools will have 4K.” Then the program can be phased in thoughtfully, with full endorsement of the legislature, factoring in standardized 4K facilities with the next building cycle. There have been too many battles robbing Peter to pay Paul in the recent budget cycle to consider the boondoggle of 4K. I strongly urge the board, in light of this information, to deny 4K implementation in Evansville. Thank you for your time.

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