Mayor Donna Holaday, who chairs the committee, agreed.
“Knowing that we’re already slightly above the curve when it comes to tuition costs, an increase would only add more of a financial burden on families. I think we should hold the tuition as it is,” she said.
“I agree with the superintendent. Getting students into the school system early will only help us in the long run,” added committee member Daniel Koen.
Additional discussion centered around the number of classrooms available and class sizes and what effect kindergarten enrollment might have on next year’s budget. Kindergarten registration for next school year is scheduled for Jan. 7.
Committee members Steven Cole and Nick deKanter voted against the measure, arguing that the issue should be tabled as more information and further discussion was needed before making a final decision.
“We should know for sure what the competitive rate is before registration takes place,” deKanter said. “Of course, we want to make sure we get as many kids as possible into the program and we may be able to keep the cost the same. But we also want to know exactly what our pricing options are.”
Cole referenced the current deficit of close to $60,000 in overall kindergarten revenue, saying it would be advisable to look into the matter more closely before bringing it to a vote.
“We still have tuition money that hasn’t been collected for this year. Given where we stand fiscally, for us to simply vote this in now is not prudent,” he said. “We have good teachers, and we’ll have a top-notch, state-of-the-art facility next year. It’s not unreasonable to consider an increase.”
In other business: Updated 2013-14 school budget estimates were brought forth, showing no changes to the projected $545,000 deficit that was presented at the previous school committee meeting on Dec. 2. An anticipated Chapter 70 education allocation of $161,000 from the state was approved by the City Council earlier this month.