TOPEKA, Kan. -- Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the state should be funding all-day Kindergarten.
The governor said Monday he plans to make that a priority for the 2014 Kansas Legislative session and he will outline a plan to phase-in funding for all-day Kindergarten in his State of the State address next month.
Right now, the State of Kansas pays local school districts for half a day of Kindergarten. Brownback said that simply is not enough. School districts offering all-day Kindergarten are currently forced to find other funding sources for the second half of the day.
Brownback told KAKE News he will propose a five-year, $80 million plan to shift the additional cost onto the state. He wants Kansas to pick up a tenth more of the cost each year -- starting with $16 million in 2014 -- until the state is paying for the entire Kindergarten day.
The proposal, Brownback said, is part of an effort to improve early reading scores.
"We have excellent K-12 schools in Kansas," he said. "They compare very favorably across the country and they generally are leading schools and we put a lot of resources in it, but here's an area I think really where we need to do more."
The State Board of Education has requested increased funding for all-day Kindergarten during past legislative sessions. Brownback said the proposal he will outline in January has broad support from public school districts.
"We need to do it," Brownback said. "We need it for them to be able to learn to read."