This fall, for the first time ever, the Austin Independent School District is going to offer pre-kindergarten for those willing to pay tuition. Right now free, full day pre-k is offered only for students who qualify.
Some of the state eligibility requirements include students who:
- qualify for free or reduced lunch
- don't speak English
- are homeless
- have a parent who serves in the armed forces
“Tuition supported pre-k is $4,656 per student annually and that rate is actually, the state helps us set that rate,” Jacquie Porter, AISD’s Early Childhood director, said. , said sa
That’s what it costs to provide pre-k free of charge to eligible families. The state pays half, and AISD kicks in the rest to fund full day programs. By filling up classes and charging tuition to families who don’t qualify for free pre-k, the district hopes to make about $250,000 this first pilot year.
AISD says the money it raises from tuition would go back into its pre-k programs. Porter said the district expects families to sign up for several reasons. Their tuition is lower than many private pre-k programs and some day care centers. Some parents who have older children at the same school may also want to pick them up from the same location to make life a little easier.
22 schools across town will offer pre-k at a cost this fall. Next week is the deadline to apply for the first-round lottery. AISD says it could open up more schools to paid pre-k, if there's enough demand in the future. Find more details here.