Some Missouri school districts have started thinking about charging parents a fee for services in the Parents as Teachers program.

The state budget shortage and funding shortfalls in the school foundation formula have led the legislature to pass a law letting districts charge fees for the early childhood education program that has been free for three decades.

The topic has come up in regional meetings held by the Missouri School Boards Association.  Spokesman Brent Ghan says some districts say they’re considering fees, even though the Parents as Teachers program takes up only a small part of school districts’ budgets.  But he says districts might not be able to absorb those costs.

Ghan says some districts might be testing the waters in their communities to see how the idea of charging fees would fly.  He says districts are looking for ways to keep the program alive in the face of financial problems this year and expectations of even tighter state finances next year.

 Brent Ghan and Bob Priddy talk fees 3:59 mp3