Archive 2008 - 2019

TUITION FREE Full Day Kindergarten (TFFDK) Initiative

by Stacey Raffi

Dear Holliston Community Member:

The Holliston School Committee and Superintendent of Holliston are working on an initiative to offer

“TUITION FREE Full Day Kindergarten (TFFDK)” to all Holliston students starting the 2015-2016 school year.

The School Committee is forming a Task Force to review the proposal in-depth and make an informed recommendation as to whether or not TFFDK makes sense for Holliston.   We are looking for volunteers to work on this task force as a cross-functional group of Holliston residents, working with the Superintendent and members of his staff, to review the original proposal to offer TFFDK in Holliston and provide a recommendation on whether or not this proposal has merit.  If the Task Force recommends moving forward with TFFDK, the report is also expected to include a detailed implementation plan to move this proposal from conception to reality.


Looking for volunteers….15-20 Holliston residents including:

  • residents with students in our district

  • residents with future students (parents of toddlers or pre-school children)

  • residents with no students

  • residents with former students

  • residents with Special Needs students

  • Holliston teachers

  • residents who are educators working in other communities

  • members of Holliston Business Association

  • town employees

  • medical and mental health professionals

  • 1-2 board members of the Finance Committee, Selectmen, and School Committee

    What does this entail?

Members of this task force will review the research that was presented in January 2014 by Dr. Jackson and create a report that will include:

  • Needs Analysis

    • Information about the Common Core and changes to the MA Frameworks/Curriculum

    • Review of how Kindergarten is offered in other MA Communities”

    • Address the issue of “can all 5 yr olds stay in school all day?”

    • Equity of Access

    • What needs will this tuition free full day K program serve?

  • Cost Analysis

    • What is the total cost?   Implementation?  Year after year cost?

    • Determine funding options and choose the one that best serves the town.

    • What about Chapter 70 aid? (invite Carolyn Dykema)

  • Task Force Recommendation -- Does the Task Force recommend that Holliston pursue providing TFFDK for September 2015?

  • Recommended Next Steps:

    • If Task Force recommends not moving forward:

      • Should this issue be revisited?  If so, when?

    • If Task Force recommends moving forward:

      • How have other towns successfully implemented this to their district?

      • Which of these options make the most sense for Holliston?

Time Commitment:  

Each member is expected to attend each meeting (schedule below) and spend additional time not included in these meetings.

Meetings- Creating the Report

The following meetings have been scheduled for 7-9p in the conference room in the Central Office located at Holliston High School (370 Hollis Street):

October:   9, 23, 30, 2014

November: 20, 2014

December: 4, 18, 2014

January 15, 29, 2015

This group may create sub-groups and choose additional meetings.

The TFFDK Task Force will present its final report to the Holliston School Committee at the School Committee’s February 5, 2015 meeting.

If you are interested in volunteering to be a member of this group, please send an email to: by Monday Sept 15, 2014. 

Feel free to contact Stacey Raffi with any questions at or 508-494-8783.


Stacey Raffi

Holliston School Committee

Comments (9)

First of all, Eric's logic seems to say that since most parents work full time, that obviously means we should provide full day kindergarten. Sorry Eric, but your comment makes me think that you just want free babysitting. If the school committee can find a way to offer tuition-free full-day kindergarten without resorting to an override, or cuts to programs that already exist, than that could maybe be a good thing. All the fees for bussing and activities, though some may view as fair, are in my opinion, just nickel and diming families, and can be a true hardship for some. Eric, sorry bud, but our family paid dearly for childcare and after school programs so that we could both get to our jobs. We would have liked to maybe do other things with that cash, like save for retirement or maintain our home, but our priorities have always been our children. Now that our children are grown, we have some catching up to do with things like retirement, so really, don't even consider raising our taxes! one more thing Eric, that's a cheap shot to start picking on the senior center and other things.

taxes here are high enough already | 2014-09-14 05:12:01

The Bus fee has been with us for quite some time now. My kids went to school on the "free" bus for a few years, and we paid for the bus for a number of years also. It's not exactly a deal breaker, if I remember correctly it was $225 for a year, or $1.25 per day or 62.5 cents each way. Gas has gone up and down, the cost of drivers and busses has increased, but the bus fee remained the same for a long time. I don't see it as burdensome.

Hungry Hippo | 2014-09-12 10:10:28

Hungry Hippo...I think what Living is trying to say is: It's pretty pathetic in a Town where taxes are as high as they are here in Holliston to nickel and dime for everything. Too many people in this town look at how things affect them personally rather than how the affect the community as a whole. I've even had long time resident even say to me "I had to pay for it so the younger generation should too!" That's a pretty shallow way of looking at life in general. While we are at it why don't we get rid of the senior center transportation services and free trash stickers for senior citizens? I don't get to use either of those taxpayer funded services!

Eric | 2014-09-12 09:40:23

The law is not always just or fair, and in this case the school system does have the power to make busing free to all students by incorporating it into the budget. This would - obviously - have consequences, which is always the issue. Nothing is "free". I do see the point, Living 1.97. Until we can afford to put busing into the budget we shouldn't be putting forth proposals to increase the budget for other initiatives.

we need to attend school committee meetings... | 2014-09-12 08:18:32

What's fair about the bus system is that it follows the law. Most likely you need to talk to our Selectmen or State Rep to get that changed.I guess in some ways it might make sense for the Town or School Department to publish a "distance to school" for each property in town, and Realtors to include this information in a property's listing.

Hungry Hippo | 2014-09-12 05:28:54

Hungry Hippo - what is fair about a system where my next door neighbor wouldn't have to pay a bus fee, but we do, until seventh grade when every one pays.

Living 1.967 miles from school | 2014-09-11 18:03:32

Years ago when one of my kids was in kindergarten, the teacher said she would love to have a full day to teach the kids. She told me that the pace would be a lot more relaxed with twice the time to teach the same material. It has nothing to do with working parents... Those of us who juggled the work and kid schedule either paid for full day kindergarten or for an after school program. As for the bus comment.... I like the system we have now, if you use the bus, you pay for the bus. Don't use the bus? Then you don't have to pay for it. And they already have a family maximum for big families. Sounds fair to me.

Hungry hippo | 2014-09-11 14:45:56

Until busing is provided free to all students, I would not consider any new proposals.

Living 1.97 miles from school | 2014-09-11 10:48:20

Full-day Kindergarten is a no brainer in this day and age. In most households both parents must work. Why do we need to study it and form committees to determine if it is necessary?

Eric | 2014-09-11 04:31:22