IDAHO — Options for free, all-day kindergarten are expanding in south-central Idaho as two school districts announced plans to provide the service over the weekend.
On Saturday, the West Ada School District posted on Facebook stating it will begin offering free, full-day kindergarten at all elementary schools next year.
West Ada pointed out the multiple benefits of enrolling a child in all-day kindergarten in the post.
“Full-day Kindergarten not only boosts students’ academic achievement,” it said. “It also strengthens their social and emotional skills.”
Half-day kindergarten is free across Idaho and funded through state appropriations.
The district has provided tuition-based all-day kindergarten for families at select schools since 2014. Tuition costs $300 per month, according to Idaho Ed News. However, the varied and fee-based program landed WASD in a lawsuit with district parents that contended the service went against provisions in the Idaho Constitution. More on the suit is available here.
The Twin Falls School District also announced its plans to offer free, all-day kindergarten in the fall on Friday. The Boise and Idaho Falls school districts previously publicized their plans to roll out free, full-day programs next school year at all elementary schools.
“This change comes about thanks to funding from the state level designated to provide support for literacy education,” the TFSD online announcement states.
That extra funding comes from a bill signed into law by Gov. Brad Little last week. Under the legislation, state funding for literacy intervention programs will nearly triple — from $26.1 million to $72.7 million. During the legislative debate, bill sponsors said the additional money is enough for all schools in Idaho to offer free, full-day kindergarten services. However, the funding can be used for other literacy-related programs.
More information about kindergarten enrollment is available on the school districts’ websites.