In past years, a student who wanted to enroll in the Eastern Howard Schools but lived in another district had to pay a few thousand dollars in tuition.

After the state began funding schools’ general funds, Eastern dropped its tuition to $300 per year, and starting in the 2010 to 2011 school year, there will be no tuition charged to out-of-district students who enroll in half-day kindergarten or grades 1 to 12 before the official student count day.

Superintendent Tracy Caddell said if the students transfer before the count day, the school is already receiving money for them.

He said any transfer student must be approved by the building principal. He said transfer tuition students are the only growth he anticipates in the near future.

“We have to market our school corporation,” he said, adding that the corporation is putting up a billboard on Ind. 22 to advertise.

“We think the billboard is worth the cost because if only one student registers, we will have met the cost of the advertisement,” he said.

Caddell said, though, there will still be a tuition fee for children in the full-day kindergarten program. That fee, of approximately $875, covers the difference between what the state provides for the program and what it costs to offer it.

So far, no other Kokomo-area schools have announced plans to follow Eastern’s lead.

Kokomo Superintendent Chris Himsel had no comment on tuition.

At Northwestern, Superintendent Ryan Snoddy said the board has not yet decided what it will charge in tuition. This school year, the charge was $600 for students who came in before the state count day, which determines the amount of student funding the school will receive.

Snoddy said when the school general fund was still funded through property taxes, tuition was about $4,500.

The $600 now charged covers what the student’s family would have paid in property taxes for the capital projects fund and debt service fund.

Northwestern charges about $1,000 for full-day kindergarten, and offers no half-day program.

Western now charges about $100 per semester for students who come in before count day.

“We charged that last year and we intend on doing that again next year,” Superintendent Peter O’Rourke. He added that the district no longer accepts out-of-district students after the count day, which is usually in mid-September.

“The bulk of the money for students now comes from the general fund. If we didn’t take them before the [count] day, the people would have to pay a huge amount because their state money would go where they were on that day.”

O’Rourke said the current school year, there are close to 35 transfer students, and his office has already received more than 20 requests for the 2010 to 2011 school year.

O’Rourke said Western offers only full-day kindergarten, and so far has not charged tuition for it.

He said, though, if the state full-day kindergarten grant is not enough to fund the program, the corporation may have to consider a fee.

“We’re not intending to charge, but we won’t know until we get a better handle on numbers, with enrollment and the kindergarten grant,” he said.

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