Enrollment in Elkhorn’s new 4K surpassing expectations
Parents in the Elkhorn Area School District interested in enrolling their children in the new 4-year-old kindergarten program can call the district at (262) 734-7252. Enrollment in 4K is free because it is a public school function.
ELKHORN Enrollment in the Elkhorn Area School District’s new 4-year-old kindergarten program is surpassing expectations and continues to climb, a district official says.
A closing date for 4K pupil registration is not yet set, District Administrator Greg Westcott said, but parents who are interested in enrolling their youngsters must do it soon.
Jim Kueht, director of pupil services, said time is short because the district wants to know the enrollment level so it can set up classrooms.
As of midweek, 154 pupils were enrolled in 4K. More were expected because of inquires received by the district from interested parents, Kueht said.
District officials had expected 150 to enroll, Westcott said.
“It’s certainly something parents have been asking about for a number of years,” Westcott said.
The school board in April unanimously approved 4K as a one-year pilot program for 2011-12. Officials will need to decide later if 4K should develop into a permanent offering.
“The wonderful thing is our community is embracing it,” board President Susan Leisle said after the vote.
After the program is established, the district projects that about 90 percent of 5-year-old kindergarten students will first attend 4K, Westcott said. Enrollment in 4K ultimately could climb to 220 pupils.
Enrollment is voluntary, and completion is not required to advance to regular kindergarten. Classes for 4K will be held in half-day sessions, four days a week, Westcott said.
The 4K curriculum purchased by the district has all the components recommended by the state Department of Public Instruction, Kueht said.
Teachers and those administering 4K will train this summer on implementing the curriculum that combines fun and learning, he said.
Board member Barb Fisher called the addition of 4K “an asset that definitely has public support.”
Many of the 4K pupils were enrolled by their parents at a recent gathering at Elkhorn Area Middle School, Fisher said.
Pupils can attend either a morning or afternoon session, but not both, Kueht said.
The program will follow a community-based model. Classes will be at day-care centers—Lakeland’s Little Learners and The Learning Curve—and at the Step Ahead Preschool Center. All are in Elkhorn.
Parents were encouraged earlier this month to acquaint themselves with the three sites.
“I was really surprised at the number of people who came for the open houses,” Fisher said.
The district will try to accommodate requests for locations and sessions, but it is not guaranteed, Westcott said.
The one-time, $400,000 start-up cost for 4K was paid by a federal grant, he said.
The district receives state reimbursement for 4K pupils in two ways, Westcott said.
Each 4K child will affect the district’s revenue cap. The state has capped the revenue a district can raise. The cap is increased as the student population rises.
The program also will increase state aid to the district, which is awarded on a per pupil basis, he said.
In other words, the more students in district, the more the more operational revenue it receives.
Westcott said he does not have a final figure on the money 4K would bring into the district. He stressed that the financial scenarios run during research showed the district would make money.
The district’s day care and preschool partners will be reimbursed on a per pupil basis. Neighboring districts with community-based 4K pay $2,500 to $2,800 per pupil, Westcott said. He expects Elkhorn would pay within the same range.