LEGISLATIVE BRIEFS: ADMINISTRATION COSTS OF PRESCHOOL DISPUTED
11:51 PM, Apr. 11, 2011 |
the des moines register
Preschool administration costs under Gov. Terry Branstad's plan would increase by just a fraction of the total outlined last week by a nonpartisan report, a spokesman for the governor said Monday.
Branstad has proposed eliminating statewide preschool for a system that awards state tuition assistance on a sliding scale.
The Legislative Services Agency last week said the total administration costs would increase from $303,500 to $1.2 million, largely because of the need to verify every family's income.
But the governor's staff says those costs will increase only about 70 percent under the governor's plan to $515,000.
Branstad does not include the $460,000 costs of a new annual online assessment for students as administrative costs. Same goes for $214,500 for assessment materials, said spokesman Tim Albrecht.
"The cost of testing is not typically viewed as an administrative expense," Albrecht said. "The new preschool assessment would be no different from the range of other tests schools give, which are viewed as an instructional cost. The point is to find out how much kids are learning."
Shawn Synder, the services agency staffer who wrote the previous estimate, said it's largely a matter of what someone considers administrative costs, noting the state's education department would need a total of $1.2 million more to administer the program.
"I understand what they're saying, but I guess it's a matter of opinion if that's considered administration for the department or not," Synder said.
Roughly 3,000 fewer children each year would obtain preschool education under Branstad's plan, according to the nonpartisan estimate. The overall savings to the state would be roughly $36 million.
Read the "Pay Now or Pay Later" brief from the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids foundation.