District 64 boosts annual fee for kindergarten classes
As Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 gets ready to offer full-day kindergarten classes in the 2023-24 term, officials are increasing annual student fees for the program.
This year, families with kids in District 64's half-day kindergarten classes pay an $84 fee per student. Starting this fall, the fee for full-day kindergarten will be the same amount assessed for first- through fifth-graders, or $227 per year.
The fee for half-day kindergarten will be half that total moving forward, or $113.50 per student.
The annual preschool fee will remain $84.
The District 64 board approved the fee changes Thursday night during its meeting at Emerson Middle School in Niles.
The fees are designed to cover the purchase of items such as textbooks, computers and art supplies.
"Kindergartners will now get those as part of (the full-day program)," District 64 spokesman Nick Shepkowski said. "(It's) something they didn't have previously."
The fees for other students haven't changed in 12 years, Superintendent Eric Olson said.
District 64 officials are planning to offer full-day kindergarten at all five elementary schools starting this fall.
The school board decided last year to borrow about $26 million to fund building expansions and renovations associated with the change. Additionally, Jefferson School in Niles will be converted into a district headquarters as part of the project.
Also Thursday, the board delayed deciding whether to charge tuition for full-day kindergarten to counter its cost.
Offering all-day classes will increase staffing expenses by $1.2 million annually, officials have said.
Additional technology and curriculum costs will be incurred, too.
Some suburban districts charge tuition enrolling in all-day kindergarten; others don't. District 64 administrators recommended against tuition to ensure all students have the opportunity to attend full-day classes without the weight of an additional cost.
Several board members said they want more financial information. The issue will be back on the agenda Feb. 3.
Nearly 400 of the district's 4,444 students attend kindergarten this year. Officials haven't yet projected how many families will choose full-day kindergarten vs. half-day kindergarten next year.
The registration process will begin in February.