Tuition-free full-day kindergarten is proposed

Tuition-free full-day kindergarten for all students ages five to six was proposed at the Dec. 6 school committee meeting for the 2022-2023 school year. The school committee will vote on the proposal at the meeting on Dec. 20.

The proposal comes after almost two full school years being affected by the pandemic, and younger students will need better and more learning and interaction time during the school day.

Additionally, there are many benefits to full-day kindergarten that were included in the proposal. With a longer school day, students will be able to have more one-on-one time with teachers, who will be able to get to know students and parents more, allowing them to better help students.

Students in full-day kindergarten are also able to attend “specials” such as art, physical education, and music, which isn’t available for half-day students.

“Recently, as we revisited this, speaking with the kindergarten teachers, […] they expressed the same type of interest for full-day [kindergarten],” assistant superintendent Kerry Clery said.

Funding for the next six years for full-day kindergarten would come from the ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) grant, which is a government-given grant to offer relief to education services during and after the pandemic. The allocated funds consist of $587,730 that must be claimed and started to be used by Sep. 30, 2024.

“This is a unique funding source that we have available to address something that is inherently inequitable in our school system,” school committee member Gloria Miller said, referring to the fact that students’ families must pay tuition for their children to attend full-day kindergarten.

However, the ESSER III grant is limited, and cannot be used every year in the future, and does not cover the entire cost of full-day kindergarten.

ESSER III funds would only be able to be used for the first two years of this plan, according to Clery.


If the proposal is put into effect, half-day kindergarten will be removed as an option in the school system, and full-day kindergarten will be put into effect for everyone.

“This is an opportune time to do this […] the pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated pre-existing inequities,” Miller said. “[…] Ninety-five percent of Massachusetts schoolchildren receive free full-day [kindergarten]. […] The [number] of towns [that] are charging [is] dwindling. We are going to be left on an island, and that is inherently going to start impacting the reputation of the school district.”