NACS Prepares For First Day Of School Thursday

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

August 8, 2011 Updated Aug 8, 2011 at 11:16 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- Northwest Allen County School Board met for the final time before the beginning of another school year.

Meanwhile, the biggest change will be an expanded full-day kindergarten program.

Last year, only 58 students participated in full-day kindergarten across the NACS district.

This year, enrollment is up nearly 500%.

268 students have registered because district leaders created open enrollment by charging $1,900 dollars for tuition.

District leaders said they decided to charge $1,900 dollars because that is the cost difference between state funding for half-day kindergarten and what the actual cost is for full-day kindergarten.

Meanwhile, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, students who received more early childhood education, (full-day kindergarten) are more likely to graduate high school.

"We've done everything possible to create exciting learning environments for our kids," said Northwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Chris Himsel.

"Our facilities are clean. They're safe. They're ready for our kids and we can't wait to get started," proudly continued Himsel.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Himsel will take a 3% pay cut for the 2011-2012 school year.

Himsel said he promised that if teachers took a 3% pay cut, he would too.

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NACS is also working on their 2012 budget.

Business Manager Bill Mallers said property tax caps will create losses of more than two million dollars in the Debt Services and Transportation budgets.

"We are going to struggle in supporting our true costs," explained Mallers.

"I don't know where else to cut," continued Mallers.

However, Mallers did present a possible option, he said the district could move money from the Capital Projects Fund to the Rainy Day Fund.

He said once the money is in the Rainy Day Fund, it could be appropriated to the Transportation Fund to make ends met.

The 2012 Budget Hearing is tentatively scheduled for Monday, September 26.

The 2012 Budget could be approved on Monday, October 10.




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