ECE Center Tuition Up For Discussion

Board considers feedback from families

“In November, when the Affton Board of Education settled on a tuition schedule that would allow it to recapture the start-up costs of the Early Childhood Education Center opening next fall, a few factors apparently were overlooked.

The board and administrators plan to correct those oversights by adjusting fees that will make it easier for families who don’t qualify for tax credits to enroll their youngsters.

The issue was on the school board agenda for Feb. 21, but it was pulled back in order to allow further discussions, Superintendent Steve Brotherton said.

The board approved a basic $625 per month charge for full-time early childhood enrollment, with several other rates tailored for four- and two-day half days. Brotherton said since the district began taking applications for the ECE Center, there has been some feedback from potential families about the rate.

“The rate of tuition is $75 per month for two half days per week and $130 for 4 half days per week,” he said. “These artificially low rates of tuition were enabled because the tuition is not used to pay employees, rent or utilities for the center. Instead, the tuition has been used to purchase some supplies and equipment.

“There is also the implied goal of equal opportunity to be addressed,” he said. “The absence of financial aid (subsidy or tax credits) for households with stay-at-home parents creates some level of imbalance in the rate structure. Possible solutions would include adjusting tuition rates for the half day program, which is the primary enrollment choice for households with stay at home parents.

“In an effort to lessen the impact of increased tuition rates, it is proposed to adjust rates for the half day program to $90 per month for the two half days per week program for 2012-2012 and $180 per month for the four half days per week program for 2012-2013,” Brotherton said.

These proposed rates apparently remain open to discussion.”

Printed in the South County Times on February 24, 2012

Article by Joe Leicht

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