Kinder fees to rise by a third

FEES at Portland kindergartens have risen by as much as 33 per cent to cover extra hours and lower enrolments.

Glenelg Shire Council has set an annual fee of $1000 for its Portland Child and Family Complex and Kalbarri Kindergarten.

The Kalbarri fee has risen 33.3 per cent from $750 and the Portland fee is up by 21.36 per cent from $824.

After-kinder care fees will rise 148 per cent to $36 at Portland and the three-year-old program at Kalbarri will rise by 30 per cent to $650.

Mayor Cr Karen Stephens said the fees were less than the state government recommendation of $1254.

“Fees have been developed taking into account implementation of recommended increases and operational costs including staffing and program activities and affordability for families,” she said.

“Families are entitled to apply for a rebate to assist with the costs of access to kindergarten programs and families on a concession or pensioner care will be eligible for 100 per cent fee relief from the government.”

All four-year-old kinder children will have 15 hours of tuition a week under a new national agreement.

A report presented to the council last month said parents could pay an additional $330 or more for their child’s kindergarten education due  to highter staffing costs for extra hours.

Heywood kindergarten committee expressed concern higher fees would affect enrolments.

A declining population of three to five-year-olds had led to lower enrolments across the municipality.

Dartmoor Children’s Centre will be unable to provide 15 hours of classtime due to workforce constraints.

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