Many school districts that participate in the state’s Voluntary Preschool Program are charging families, but Washington’s program remains free. YMCA Childcare Director Shalon Hoyle says state guidelines allow districts to charge parents if they provide more than ten hours of care each week, or if students didn’t turn four on or before September 15th. Despite those allowances, Hoyle says Washington’s free preschool program doesn’t charge extra for the 12 hours of care it provides area children each week, but does charge families whose children are too young or old for the program, as well as a $45 supplies fee. Republican gubernatorial candidate Terry Branstad has criticized governor Culver for expansion of the Voluntary Preschool Program. He says it’s not the state’s responsibility to pay for preschool.
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