Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1114077

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2014

Highland preschool tuition hiked

By Xiomara Levsen | Feb 11, 2014

RIVERSIDE—The Highland school board voted to raise the  3-year-old preschool tuition at their meeting Monday evening.
“The bottom line is the 3-year-old preschool persistently runs in the red,” Highland Community School District superintendent Chris Armstrong said. “We need to do something so that it can start running in the black.”
Armstrong proposed an increase of $20 to the school board members, which would bring the 3-year-old tuition to $125 per month. The 3-year-old preschool is offered two times a week at Riverside Elementary.
“When you say we run in the red that’s both programs together?” asked school board member Rachel Longbine.
Armstrong said this was just for the 3-year-old preschool. Longbine asked if it was for both Ainsworth and Riverside Elementary. Ainsworth Elementary School principal Jane O’ Leary said in the past, yes, but didn’t think 3-year-old preschool would be offered at Ainsworth again because enrollment numbers have been so low.
“I think that raising it is wise,” said school board member Tara Black. “Just continuing to offer it. I mean if we continue to lose money the choice will be to not have it, so raising it $20 to me does not seem unreasonable so we can continue to offer it. It’s a really great program.”
School board member Mike Golden asked if there was any way Ainsworth could offer the 3 year-old preschool again. He also asked if anyone knew if raising the tuition $20 would affect parents’ decisions to send children to Highland’s 3-year-old preschool.
Armstrong said the $105 affects parents now and raising the tuition would be the same. O’Leary said additionally the problems were parents are paying for tuition, afternoon child care, transportation, and other expenses.   
“My question is, and this doesn’t have to be answered now, is there something we could do to change how the program looks to make it so that kids would want to go?” Golden asked. “I think it’s really important to them, but I understand it’s not so much the cost of tuition as you balance that all together and you know day care, whether they go to school or not, they [parents] probably have a full week.”
“Right,” O’ Leary said, “and I think last year we had one 3 year-old.”
Longbine asked if the 4 year-old preschool at Ainsworth was every day. O’Leary said yes. Longbine asked the same about Riverside and Riverside Elementary principal Eric Ewald said the school had three different programs that children attend on different days.
Longbine asked how the 4 year-old preschool was doing financially and Armstrong said financially the 4 year-old preschool program was doing OK.
A motion was made to increase the 3 year-old preschool tuition for the 2014-15 school year to $125 per month. The motion passed unanimously.
Other items covered at the school board meeting included:
a presentation from the Washington County Community Foundation on what the foundation can do to assist people who give to scholarships the foundation has. The Highland Community School District has a scholarship fund for its students that was given in memorialof an alumni;
and approved a draft of a letter for the City of Ainsworth, pending approval from the school district’s attorney, about concerns with the Ainsworth Elementary School’s parking lot. The city plans on doing a water main project, which may require removal of some concrete from the bus pad drop off spot. The letter said the district would take responsibility if removal of concrete needs to be done or replaced. School board president Kevin Engel abstained from the vote because he’s an employee of the city.
The next school board meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24, in the board room at Highland High School.



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