About two-thirds of Amphitheater School District students in voluntary, tuition-based full-day kindergarten schools are being signed up for the longer day, according to Amphi associate superintendent Patrick Nelson.
Nelson said full-day kindergarten turnout "has been pretty good."
There's been "good sign-up" at schools such as Copper Creek, Harelson and Painted Sky, "a little less" at Donaldson and Mesa Verde, "but enough that we're still having all-day kindergarten," Nelson said.
As an example, Painted Sky reports 60 children are registered for full-day kindergarten at a tuition of $1,200 per year plus $100 in supplies. Another 34 are now signed up for half-day kindergarten. That ratio is typical, Nelson reports.
On some campuses, students in half-day kindergarten may be combined for part of each day with full-day kindergarten classes. "It's working well," Nelson said. "Our principals have arranged the classes to fit the sign-up."
Amphi elementary schools that are designated federal Title 1 schools continue with full-day kindergarten without tuition, paid for with federal money.
With the help of approximately $7 million in property taxes approved by voters in an override, and with the passage of Proposition 100, Amphi's "working hard to hire back almost all of our RIF'd teachers that we can," Nelson said. "Class sizes will be a little bit bigger than last year. Thankfully, the passage of the renewal of the override has allowed us to minimize the real high impact."
Amphi has cut about $7.5 million from last year's spending. Without Proposition 100, the reduction would have been just over $14 million. "It has helped mitigate the negative impact somewhat, but we still had to reduce our budget rather significantly," Nelson said. "That's where the override has been particularly helpful.
"We've done our best to minimize the budgetary impact on our students and on our parents," Nelson said. "The last several years, we've significantly reduced at the central level, facilities, maintenance, operations. Every department at central office has been impacted; we've been able to minimize that impact on our classrooms."
Amphi has raised its athletics participation fees from $15 to $20 at the middle school level, and from $25 to $40 at the high school level.