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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:55 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board receptive to district-wide all-day kindergarten with $1.5M pricetag

By Danielle Arndt


All-day kindergarten is now seemingly inevitable for Ann Arbor Public Schools. District administration presented a report and recommendation to the Board of Education Tuesday in support of the switch.

MLive file photo

Superintendent Patricia Green presented her recommendation to the Ann Arbor school board Wednesday to move forward with all-day kindergarten.

Recent capacity data compiled by the district revealed schools had the room for all-day K.

A show of hands by board members revealed none of the trustees opposed the switch. A formal vote will be conducted in March during the Board of Education’s regular meeting.

All-day kindergarten is expected to cost Ann Arbor Public Schools about $1.5 million. This would include hiring the equivalent of 19.5 full-time teachers for classroom instruction and five full-time teachers for music, art and physical education.

Teacher salaries and benefits would total about $2.08 million.

The district also would need to open and outfit 11 additional classrooms throughout its elementary schools. Furniture and supplies is estimated at $110,000.

The $1.5 million has a contingency of $100,000 built into the estimate. A savings of about $289,000 and projected revenues of $451,000 from attracting additional kindergarteners would offset the cost of hiring more staff.

Administrators said not pursuing all-day kindergarten would cost about $3.5 million due to a new state requirement calling for all half-day kindergarteners to be funded at half of the district’s per-pupil foundation allowance.

And although the district would eliminate its tuition-based extended-day option in favor of the all-day option for kindergarten, AAPS would not lose any revenue. Deputy Superintendent for Operations Robert Allen said the extended-day program was self-sufficient and the money generated through the tuition went back into the community education department.

Because kindergarten roundup already is under way at Ann Arbor’s elementary schools, specific steps will be enacted to communicate with prospective families.

The elementaries should be collecting sign-in sheets and contact information from families at the roundups, administrators said. From these forms, each school will create a database that will be shared with the district’s communication office.

Upon approval of all-day kindergarten, families will be formally notified of the switch by phone and email.

The report prepared by Ann Arbor cabinet members outlined procedures for district announcements, website postings, flyers as well as radio, newspaper and online media advertisements.

“The goal is to not only communicate the all-day everyday kindergarten program via the conventional methods, but to develop a chain of communication among families to help promote the new program,” the report said.

Ann Arbor currently has all-day programs at Allen, Bryant, Carpenter, Mitchell, Northside and Pittsfield elementaries. No changes will occur at these schools.

One teacher would be added at Abbot, Logan and Thurston to accommodate the full-day program, while the equivalent of 1.5 teachers would be necessary at the remaining elementaries, according to district projections.

The board discussed the possibility of offering an optional half-day program at some schools for just this year, the transitional year. However, Green and several other board members were opposed to it.

Green said all-day kindergarten is a chance to align all of Ann Arbor’s elementary buildings.

“We like inconsistencies in this district. And we do it real well,” she said part jokingly. “This would give us an opportunity to be consistent.”

Trustee Christine Stead agreed. She said not having the half-day option would make it less confusing for the district when families move into the area and have to sign up for kindergarten in late July or August.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

Bottom line? They have been toying with this idea for years. It is the parents who have fought this tooth and nail. If the parents never fought it? Then this would have been implemented years ago. I am all for it because studies have shown the children have more retention then if they only half day. Mine was an all day K child and I thought she benefited from it. I am all for this.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 9:30 a.m.

Money before students people!

Dog Guy

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

$107,000 per new teacher in salary and benefits sounds about right: compensation over $100 per hour for a 1,000 hour work year. That is "professional" income without the costs of rent, insurance, clerks, advertising, accounting, and various business taxes. As a taxpaid teacher, I praise this wonderful system.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

Heading to our Kindergarten Roundup tonight. WIll be interesting to hear the discussion either way. We attend Dicken, and while I think many parents will be happy with this offering, I think there are also a fair share who are really disappointed with this offering. While I see the benefit of full day for some, I don't think it's a good fit/or necessary for all. The arguement that the teachers need a full day to cover the curriculum seems a weak one, as I have 2 older chlldren who are doing just fine in 1st and 3rd after going through 1/2 kindergarten. I would love for there to be an option somewhere in our district to go 1/2 day, even if it means me driving my child. I'm just wondering how many families will seek other options than their neighborhood public school if they oppose the idea of full day for what ever reason. Is AAPS going to try and quantify the potential loss of students in any way?


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

My kids are homeschooled so I don't care.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:34 p.m.

about frickin' time! it is a year late for me but I'm glad it is being offered for families after me. dealing with the school system for after school care was so infuriating that we abandoned it entirely in favor of the YMCA. the Y does a great job!


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Late for me too. We did charter school for the all day K. Loved it.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Most kindergarteners are used to being in preschool all day. Many go to pre- or after-care and are away from home 7 AM - 6 PM. I'm not passing judgement one way or the other about this fact, but am saying that most children will be ready for full-day kindergarten and it has been a privilege for those families who have been able to be home with their children for part of the day. I am glad for other families that they won't have to pay for EDO as I have done, while other parents had the benefit of free full-day kindergarten at other schools. It has not felt fair to have it be inconsistent across the district.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Not having all day kindergarten is why we did not enroll my daughter in AAPS. She had been in daycare all day and could already read at 4. An all day Montessori program made more since.

Matt Peckham

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

"Teacher salaries and benefits would total about $2.08 million." That's about $106,666 per hire (at 19.5). Does that sound right?


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

In all reality? I think that they won't need as many teachers to do an all day K as everyone is thinking they will. Unless they going to double up on K teachers to give one a break from the morning run? It will be more or less less teachers needed to run an all day K. Take a look at Perry in Ypsi. They have one school for Pre School up to 2nd. Nice idea huh?

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:49 p.m.

The story has been updated to better reflect that, as commenters pointed out, the $2.08 million estimate includes both teacher salaries and benefits.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

A better headline... AAPS retains $3.5 million in state support by complying with state Kindergarden laws. The cost of compliance is $1.5 million, the cost of non-compliance is $3.5 million. This is a "no brainer" The fun thing is that AAPS is now going to "poach" more students from other districts, like the charter schools do. I don't see the usual suspects complaining about the fact that they are going to do this. Seems only the charter schools are EVIL for doing this. Double standard?

A Voice of Reason

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:26 p.m.

They are adding this service as a way to get more revenue into the system. I think this is fine if there is some positive outcome for kids vs. a babysitting option. I think year-round has a better impact on learning issues than full day-but I guess teachers do not want to work in the summer. Someday it will be about what is best for the kids.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

I agree that year-round school is a better choice for consistent learning, but way to take an unfair jab at the teachers. It's not like it's their call whether the district is on a traditional or year-round schedule.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

I kind of feel sorry for the school district. On one hand, if they do not offer all-day kindergarten they are passed over for part of Gov. Snyder's education funding (look it up on the internet), and called insensitive to the needs of students and parents. On the other hand, if they do offer all-day kindergarten and staff it appropriately then they are made out to be liars for reporting they have a budget shortfall, and spendthrifts for paying for teachers to run the program. To keep it simple, they would have to spend the $1.5 million to get the $3.5million in state funds. The old adage of "spend money to make money," which is a pretty standard business practice (for all who believe the schools should run more like businesses). Seems like kind of a no-brainer when you boil it down.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 9:33 a.m.

Public schools can't be described as a business when they are a single payer and single provider system.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Great - take away choice for the sake of consistency.

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 9:33 a.m.

The choice of half day is gone.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:21 p.m.

@pbspirit - No one has taken away your choice. You still have the choice to send your child(ren) to public school or not. If not, there are plenty of other options, from private schools to homeschooling. Enough histrionics.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

The article is not clearly written. The headline does not really match the content. What is behind the move is the fact that the state will no longer pay the full per-pupil funding to schools that do not offer all-day kindergarten. Ann Arbor has offered full day kindergarten to its Title I schools but the others either had only half day or what is called EDO, Extended Day Option, which is really half day kindergarten plus half a day of child care for which the parents pay, just like any other daycare. Now that the state has mandated all districts must provide full day kindergarten (no EDO so no charge to families as in the past) in order to receive full per-pupil funding, AAPS has determined it is worth its while to offer full day in all its elementary schools. By the time they reach kindergarten, some kids are more than ready to be in school all day. Some are definitely not, but I would venture most are. How the system will address the situation for families who only want a half day is not clear but I am guessing almost all families will go for a full day. The difficulty here is that some kids who do not have preschool experience will have a tough time at first adjusting to suddenly being in school all day but that is always the case. All day kindergarten isn't all day reading and math. It's creative time, play time, being read to, etc. It's not sitting at a desk all day long. Few kids of any age are particularly good at that. Even adults need to get up and take breaks! Preschool is subsidized for some families but not for most so if you want your kid to attend preschool, you have to pay for it. The transition could be rough for some kids but all in all, this is a good move. It is about time the same services were offered across the board throughout AAPS. It took a state mandate to force the issue but at least it's now in place.

Jim Osborn

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 3:40 a.m.

Wonderful posting that clearly explains the reasins why the school board all want to spend the money to have all day kindergarten.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2 p.m.

i agree 100% that this will be difficult on many children who have not had preschool experience & this is my biggest concern.

Wolf's Bane

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Yes! Finally some good news!!! Thanks School Board!


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

They're doing it for the money, not out of any sense of providing equity across the school district. The article seems to have left that particular matter largely untouched. The premise is that the school district now has the capacity but the real reason is this (from one sentence in the article): "Administrators said not pursuing all-day kindergarten would cost about $3.5 million due to a new state requirement calling for all half-day kindergarteners to be funded at half of the district's per-pupil foundation allowance." I am sounding bitter and angry but it's because I am upset with the district. The schools my kids attend are great but the administration has pulled some real doozies the past couple of years. I don't trust them or the board and don't think they support the teachers one bit.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

"The teacher salaries would total about $2.08 million." This does not make sense to me. Divided by the 24.5 new teachers, this means they will be hired in at $85,000 each, which is a higher rate than a teacher with a master's degree and 25 years of experience. If this amount includes a benefits package, which I suspect it does, it should not be called teacher "salary."


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

Keep giving pension to teachers after 25 years of work and see how far that will get us. By the way, who retires at 47 years old? There is not reason to retire anybody at 47.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 3:43 p.m.

This is not just salary and direct benefits. This is the total direct cost of the teacher. One item that gets mislaid is the "tax" for the state teacher retirement fund, now running at more than 20 percent of annual salary. That number is growing at an alarming rate. If it keeps up by 2030 the tax will equal teacher's salaries. Unfortunately the school districts and the state may have to take the tact that GM took yesterday with retirements.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

Far too frequently now, "total compensation" is reported as "salary". It is misleading, and meant to cause controversy. More great reporting from the folks at


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:56 p.m.

Right, so they should call it a salary and benefits package so readers aren't misled.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

When they report those numbers it's more than just the salary paid to the teacher, it also includes cost of benefits/retirement paid by the district.

Jim Osborn

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

This article was a bit confusing: it stated "All-day kindergarten is expected to cost Ann Arbor Public Schools about $1.5 million…." Then later "…Administrators said not pursuing all-day kindergarten would cost about $3.5 million due to a new state requirement…" Is this some state mandate or edict? How is state funding involved vs local funding? Cost per pupil? When I was 5, we had a full day teacher who had morning class and an afternoon class, as kindergartners were deemed to have too short of an attention span for all day. It worked well. I remember being quite ready to "get out of there" Now, the big question: Are 5-year olds academically ready for all day instruction, or is this a disguised daycare program? Bigger question: Can we afford it? Biggest Question: Can we afford not to if it is known to help children later on in their school career?


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Any talk of how this might impact the out of district schools-of-choice program?