Brownback Visits Kindergarten To Tout Funding Plan

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Gov. Sam Brownback is going back to kindergarten this week to teach a lesson about the importance of all-day kindergarten.

Brownback, R-Kansas, launched a tour of school visits Monday with a trip to Pauline Central Primary School in South Topeka.

Brownback spent time with the kindergarten classes at the school to draw attention to his plans for the state to fully fund all-day kindergarten programs.

Currently, the state provides funding for half-day sessions. While many districts offer full-day programs, they make up the additional costs themselves. Brownback proposes boosting funding by $16 million per year for the next five years, with the end result being the state footing the full bill for the all-day kindergarten classes.

Dr. Ann Matthews, executive director of Teaching and Learning for USD 437 Auburn-Washburn, says kindergarten must be a priority for districts as an early intervention. She says students come to kindergarten with varying degrees of school readiness. The all-day kindergarten sessions give teachers the time to get to know students and give them the skills they need to be successful in the school years ahead.

In budget hearings so far, lawmakers have expressed concerns about footing the full bill.

Lawmakers are studying school funding while they await a ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court on whether the state is adequately funding K-thru-12 public education.

Brownback continues his school tour Tuesday with visits to Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Manhattan and Silver Lake Elementary in Silver Lake.