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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ind. Decisions - More on: "Schools Can No Longer Charge Parents for Full-Day Kindergarten"

Confirming last week's story from WISH TV (see ILB entry here), the Indianapolis Star reports today, in a story by Jon Murray:

Parents who were planning to pay to send their children to full-day kindergarten next year may now get it for free -- or possibly not at all.

A recent court decision makes fees for full-day kindergarten in Indiana unconstitutional, according to a memo sent to districts throughout the state by the Indiana Department of Education this week.

Indiana doesn't require children to attend any kindergarten. The state pays only for half-day kindergarten, so full-day programs typically charge parents from $200 to $350 per month. * * *

The Education Department memo stems from a March 30 decision by the Indiana Supreme Court overturning a $20 fee for all students in Evansville-Vanderburgh Schools. That district had intended to use the fee to offset part of a budget deficit, but the court said it amounted to tuition -- which the Indiana Constitution forbids for public schools.

The Education Department's top lawyer wrote in this week's memo that state law requires schools to offer kindergarten but does not specify whether it must be for half- or full-day. That means schools cannot charge fees for a student to attend either kind, Kevin C. McDowell said.

Other common school fees -- such as driver education -- also could be affected by the court decision. The Education Department has not drafted guidelines on other possible issues affected by the ruling.

The Supreme Court decision is Frank Nagy, et al. v. Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation.

Access a list of releated ILB entries here.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 4, 2006 10:08 AM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions