Local Schools Might Lose Funding For Full Day Kindergarten

MCKEESPORT (KDKA) — While their children colored, parents in the McKeesport Area School District registered their children for full-day kindergarten.

“Education is everything with children. Without education, how will they succeed?” says Phalan Jones, a McKeesport parent.

“The longer that education gets delayed, the more I think that affects the development of a child,” adds Dan Hertzler, a White Oak parent.

Dr. Catherine Lobaugh directs early childhood education and says full-day kindergarten is essential for children.

“It’s that strong foundation to give them those 21st century skills, critical thinking, problem solving, working together, interacting on a team, collaborating, being those kind of thinkers,” she said.

But Gov. Corbett wants to eliminate accountability block grant funding that helps area school districts provide full-day kindergarten.

As school districts are forced to consider cutting back full day kindergarten to half a day because of these budget cuts, educators say this is the wrong way to go.

“It is so critical for a child to have kindergarten,” says local child expert Michelle Figlar of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children.

Figlar says a new study urges full-day kindergarten for all children.

“There’s so much children want to learn, need to learn to go into first grade that if we limit their time, we’re just limiting their opportunity.”

Melissa Hale teaches kindergarteners and hopes Harrisburg won’t hurt her 5-year olds.

“From where they are in August to where we are now, I’ll have students reading fluently when they’re ready to move to first grade,” says Hale. “It’s an awesome, wonderful thing to see.”

And parents have a simple plea to lawmakers.

“Education is the most important thing in a child’s life,” says Rosie Palochko, a McKeesport parent. “Half a day, really they can’t learn as much as a full day.”

Most local school districts want to maintain their kindergarten program, even if state lawmakers approve these budget cuts.

But it is challenging.

Most school districts could lose a couple hundred thousand dollars — some a lot more.

Educators are hoping parents will talk to their legislators to keep full-day kindergarten alive and well in Pennsylvania.

More Politics News
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McKeesport School District
PA Governor Tom Corbett

  • Kimjt824

    Guess what there wasn’t an all day Kindergarden for years and years and you people that now teach, your parents turned out fine. All day kindergarden doesn’t define your child’s whole education system. The cost of paying teachers and administrators, their health care and great pension plan (that they don’t contribute to) have finally bankrupted us statewide. Where do you want this endless supply of money to come from ? All day kindergarden can be cut. In our district, they say it costs approximately $10,000 per student. Private schools does it for a lot less per student. Time to follow their example.

    • gq13

      Turning out just fine isn’t enough in today’s economy. Reserach shows that investment in early childhood education now reduces societal costs in the future, including policing and prisons. A state whose economy has been growing for decades is bankrupt because that those who are successful don’t pay their fair share. Costs per prison inmate is over $30,000. Better spend $10,000 now than more later. Private schools cost less because they don’t have to serve the poor and the disabled. Time to step up and invest.



  • Mark

    In PA teachers pay 7.5 % of thier pay towards their pension. In the past several years, the districts have paid next to nothing.
    Maybe the legislators should not get a full pension for serving 1 term.

  • beth

    We constantly hear how we are behind other countries with our childrens education. And we can want to cut all day kindergarten? We are building those foundations to become life long learners. And I have to ask – don’t we want more for our children? We say our parents turned out fine – but it is a different world. We can no longer offer our children a good job at the local factory or mill – education is essential. And as for educators pension plan – they most certainly do pay into it and have constantly paid into it.

    • Chris Kelly


      Do you think the countries we are behind have all day kindergarten? Doubt it. They have a desk, a pencil, a book, and a teacher who isn’t afraid to discipline. That’s all a kid needs to learn. Instead, our teachers spend 50% of their time begging kids to be quiet and the other 50% trying to make it look like the kids learned something. But our answer is to dump money into things like “all day kindergarten”.

      We also like to put money towards sending kids to college who don’t belong there, while we purchase all our manufactured goods from other countries. That makes sense too.

  • Mo

    Get real on the private school front because I am investigating it now for my two & a half year old. In Pittsburgh…Pre-K 14,000/year…Kindergarten, 16,000/year. Where are you getting YOUR numbers?

  • Daniel

    If you want all day kindergarten Cyber school has it. Now that is a great way to save money.

  • Christina

    I was in half-day Kindergarten. Funny story, I could read, write, add and subtract BEFORE I walked into the building, because my parents took on that responsibility. I turned out just fine. A little anti-social, maybe, but that has more to do with exposure to my peers than lack-there-of. People get so affronted when something threatens their child’s education, but do nothing to fix it at home. My parents spent a half an hour a day with me. I started Kindergarten at four, half-day, and was perfectly ready for first grade.

    With the funding what it is, keep the money in the later grades when parents sometimes simply can’t give the students the help they’d need.

  • FedUp

    I agree with the posters who are saying a child’s education is the parents responsibility, period. A public or private education is a wonderful thing but it is the duty of the parents to see their children get the necessary education. You bore the child, you feed/clothe the child, you see to the health needs of the child so be involved in the education of your child! Don’t use all day kindergarten as a day care at the expense of the taxpayers just so you can save a few bucks! Mommy and Daddy have to both work and don’t have time to sit with their kids and help in their education. B.S. if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way!

    • all4alldaykindergarten

      I want my tax dollars spent on education not in some fatcat politicians pockets.

      enough said

  • Mayor of GBD

    All kids left behind…in the ‘Prot by one or both parents. Now, THAT is the problem!

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