Good alternative

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 2, 1999

From staff reports

All day kindergarten is a worthy goal for schools.

Tuesday, November 02, 1999

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All day kindergarten is a worthy goal for schools. There is no disputing that children learn well at early ages, and that a carefully structured, enjoyable learning environment is of obvious benefit to them.

But, it is not likely in the near future.

That is why Kinder-Express continues to impress.

While the school district cannot currently afford all day kindergarten for all its students, Kinder-Express offers a next-best case.

The school district, Albert Lea Family Y and Community Education program provides an additional half-day learning environment for kindergartners. And, while the program is paid for by families through fees, the fees can be offset with a yearly tax break and interest-free loans from Norwest Bank until tax time.

It would be nice to see state funding for all-day kindergarten; moreover, there may be a question of whether the state is responsible to do so.

That is because the state is constitutionally required to provide for education of children. If school districts and researchers can show that all-day kindergarten is an important piece of the responsibility, then funding is due.

However, we all must consider the cost of providing funding for all-day kindergarten, and compare that to other needs.

We need more information. For example, would part of the current surplus cover the cost of all-day kindergarten, or would a tax increase result? Could money now used for the Kinder-Express type tax breaks help offset the cost?

If the state provides funding for all-day kindergarten, it cannot just be to Albert Lea, Minnesota, but rather to all districts and all children.

Still, for now at least Albert Lea parents have a good alternative, one that is already available.