Zionsville schools approve new kindergarten start time


By Nick Poust

The Zionsville school board discussed a change to the kindergarten school schedule and laid the groundwork for the 2017-2018 budget during its meeting Oct. 10.

The board approved a motion that calls for kindergarten to begin at 9 a.m., with grades 1-4 starting at 8 a.m. There will be a common dismissal time of 2:30 p.m. The changes will take effect for the 2017-2018 school year.

“We won’t have to do two dismissals back to back, meaning everybody will be moving and be managed at the same time at the end of the day,” Zionsville Community Schools Supt. Scott Robison said. “Those arrivals are less disruptive. Students are on their way to one venue, wherever class may be, so it’s not as problematic and doesn’t result in multiple transitions for many different groups of children.”

Robison said both parents and daycare centers will be notified of the change in the event of any transportation issues this change may cause.

In regards to the proposed 2017-2018 budget, ZCS Chief Financial Officer Mike Shafer expressed concern over current and future financial constraints, as ZCS is the lowest funded school corporation per pupil in the state.

“It’s been that way for several years,” Shafer said. “For the foreseeable future it will continue to be that way unless the school funding formula is re-routed rather dramatically.”

Projections for the start of the 2017 school year indicate that ZCS will receive $600 less in per pupil funding than the state average. Additionally, the per pupil projected funding for 2017 amounts to a $13 million gap between ZCS and the highest-funded school in the state. A 3.1 percent increase in enrollment is expected for the 2017-2018 school year, equating to 205 students across the district.

While ZCS has a need for additional state funds, which cover many salaries, it expects its 2017 tax rate to drop. Locally collected taxes fund capital projects, technology and transportation, among other things.

“We’re really, really proud to stand here and say that we have made a permanent difference in the taxation of Zionsville,” Shafer said. “The projections, based on real numbers as accurate as they could be, suggest that we will continue to be successful in that same way.”

The ZCS budget adoption hearing is scheduled for Oct. 24.

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