No fee rise for kindy
DESPITE changes to government funding for sought-after places at Warwick Community Kindergarten, there are no plans to raise fees for 2011.
Warwick Community Kindergarten president Kerri Walters said her organisation was committed to ensuring places at the early childhood centre remained affordable.
“We are concerned any changes to prices could mean kindergarten was no longer a real option for local families,” Mrs Walters said.
The Queensland Government has announced major changes to funding for pre-prep places, coming into effect next year.
Under the new regime funding will be based on $2100 per child rather than the current model, which funds about 80 percent of teachers’ wages.
While other Crèche and Kindergarten affiliated centres in Queensland were evaluating price rises to cover funding changes, Mrs Walters said no price hike was planned locally.
“We currently charge $20 per day which is in line with other similar centres and as along as enrolments remain around 70 to 75 we don’t envisage needing to lift prices,” Mrs Walters said.
The other Queensland Government restructuring changes require centres to offer pre-prep children a minimum of 15 hours per week in an early childhood program with university-qualified teachers.
Mrs Walters said it was this aspect of the government restructuring which would equate to major changes locally.
“We have always had qualified teachers so from that perspective we don’t need to make any changes,” she said.
“Our centre has also operated under an established curriculum, so we are already in line in that sense.
“But where it will impact is on our eight-hour-per-week program, which was a very popular option with Warwick families.”
Mrs Walters said it was possible the eight-hour-per-week program would have to be extended to 15 hours for pre-prep children in line with the new government requirements.
“It’s not ideal and I, like many parents, appreciated shorter classes, but it is very possible that will change," she said.
She stressed the community kindergarten at this time would still offer places for three-year-olds, but priority now had to be given to four-year-old pre-prep children.
“The C&K currently have a working group looking at what best models will fit this situation,” Mrs Walters said.
“So we are anticipating some changes before the new funding comes into effect next year.
“But for the time being we want to reassure local parents there are still places for their children and we don’t envisage any fee rise in response to government changes.”
Locally: No longer able to offer eight-hours-per-week program for pre-prep children.
No plans for fee hike if enrolments stay around 70.