Preschool California
Preschool California

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Dear friend,
 
Please see the memo below, which clarifies that school districts providing TK will receive full ADA funding under existing law (SB 1381) or under Gov. Brown’s proposal in the recent May Revision. School Services of California, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), School Innovations and Advocacy (SI&A), the Department of Finance and the California Department of Education have all affirmed that funding will be available for TK. 

The memo includes their individual analyses, the Legislature’s stance on TK as law, an overview of TK in the May Revise and a look into what’s next for TK.
 

Preschool California letterhead
 
 
To: Local Educational Agencies
From: Preschool California
Subject: State Will Provide Funding for Transitional Kindergarten
Date: May 21, 2012
 
School Districts Providing TK Will Receive Full ADA
 
Recently, Preschool California has received questions from districts regarding the impact of Gov. Brown’s budget proposals on funding for transitional kindergarten (TK). We would like to clarify that under any current scenario, whether it is under the law as laid out by SB 1381, or under the governor’s proposal in the May Revision, school districts that provide TK will receive full ADA funding.
 
According to the Brown Administration’s trailer bill, school districts can choose to provide a two-year kindergarten experience such as transitional kindergarten, and those that do so will continue to receive a full year of ADA funding for the children no longer eligible for kindergarten, i.e. those born between September and December.[i]
 
This has been echoed in bulletins from School Services of California, the California School Boards Association (CSBA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and School Innovations and Advocacy (SI&A), and in conversations with the Department of Finance and the California Department of Education.
 
School Services, CSBA, ACSA, SI&A: Funding Provided for TK Under Governor’s Proposal
 
School Services: In a Fiscal Report informational update, School Services noted that “Early admissions criteria for kindergarten will continue to be governed by existing statutes (Education Code Section [E.C.] 48000(b)), which call for students to be admitted to kindergarten "on a case-by-case basis," after the "governing board has determined that admittance to kindergarten is in the best interests of the child." So if a district has a process for meeting this criteria, it can voluntarily continue to provide a TK program, since students would still be authorized to attend two years of funded kindergarten under the Governor's proposal, and under existing statutory criteria.”[ii]
 
CSBA: And in a May 15 State Budget Alert about the May Revision, CSBA stated, “Gov. Brown’s proposal to eliminate the mandate to provide transitional kindergarten would remain the same as in the January budget proposal. The difference between January and his May Revision is simply in the assumptions on how to score savings at the state level. The administration is assuming more school districts would opt to provide a two-year kindergarten program where funding would still be provided.”
 
ACSA: Additionally, ACSA’s Governmental Relations department has distributed an alert saying that “The proposed legislative bill language clarifies the governor’s intent by allowing a parent/guardian who is granted approval for early admission, to enroll their child at the beginning of the school year and allow the school district to receive a full years worth of ADA funding for the child. The governor is proposing to give districts the authority to admit children who turn five after the cutoff dates at the beginning of the school year and receive ADA funding for these students for the entire school year. The governor also clarifies that children spending more than one year in kindergarten must have a kindergarten continuance form signed by the parent/guardian.”[iii]
 
School Innovations and Advocacy (SI&A): Finally, SI&A’s May 17 Cabinet Report reported that education consultants and advocates who closely monitor the ever-shifting political landscape mostly are advising districts to follow the law and to plan for some form of transitional kindergarten. ”We continue to advise districts that the legislature is unlikely to implement the elimination of the transitional kindergarten requirement,” said Barrett Snider, a legislative advocate and director of government and public affairs at School Innovations & Advocacy (SI&A is corporate host of the Cabinet Report). “The governor cannot “blue pencil” transitional kindergarten funding. That money is based upon average daily attendance and is provided as a continuous appropriation, rather than as an appropriation in the budget act. Schools are virtually certain to receive funding for transitional kindergarten attendance going forward.” [iv]
 
State Legislature: TK Remains the Law
 
The Kindergarten Readiness Act remains the law, and more than 200 districts across the state are preparing to implement TK this fall.[v]
 
As Senator Joe Simitian said after the release of the May Revision, “It’s important for parents and school districts to remember that this is just a proposal. Transitional kindergarten is the law. Any changes to that law must be approved by the Legislature.”

Additionally, Assemblymember Susan Bonilla noted after the May Revision release that both houses of the Legislature have already rejected the governor’s proposal to eliminate TK. “The state Legislature has already spoken and affirmed that transitional kindergarten will remain the law. The governor needs to understand transitional kindergarten is here to stay and that we stand firmly behind the Kindergarten Readiness Act,” Assemblymember Bonilla said. “There are no new cost savings here, so presenting this proposal as part of an evolving budget process is simply false.”
 
May Revision Budget Proposal: Districts Will Continue to Receive Funding for TK
 
In the Administration’s May Revision, very little has changed from the January proposal. The trailer bill language remains the same, which means that districts that choose to provide TK will still receive full ADA funding.
 
The only change is what would be done with the actual “savings” from TK. The May Revision  would use $91.5 million to offset cuts to part-day state preschool. Instead of allowing districts to keep that money, the Administration proposes to give it to part-day state preschool. Preschool
California disputes what the Administration is calling “savings” from eliminating TK because they are predicated upon school districts choosing to deny these children access to school, resulting in lower district revenues and more budget cuts and job losses.
 
Additional Implementation Information: Documentation Required to Provide TK This Fall
 
There have been questions regarding documentation required to provide TK, which varies under the current law and the governor’s proposal.
 
Under Current Law
Under Governor’s Proposal
No new paperwork required for students with birthdays between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2
Early admission form required for students with birthdays between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2
Continuance form required for students with birthdays between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31
Continuance form also required for students with birthdays between Sept. 1 through Dec. 2
 
What’s Next for TK
 
The constitutional deadline for the Legislature to pass the budget bill is June 15, and the start of the new fiscal year is July 1. Both houses of the Legislature have voted to reject the governor’s proposal to cut TK. Since the May Revision, legislators, school districts, educators and parents have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring TK remains law.[vi] Districts who are working on TK implementation should continue to do so.  Both the law and the governor’s proposal would allow districts to be fully funded for TK with ADA.
 
Resources for Teachers and Administrators: Preschool California stands ready to support districts in TK implementation. This month, it is holding a series of TK Webinars on May 22 and May 29 on classroom configuration, assessment and observation. For dial-in and other information, visit www.tkcalifornia.org. These are part of a series of monthly calls that provide information on building effective TK instructional strategies. This summer, Preschool California will launch significant updates to its www.tkcalifornia.org website for teachers and administrators, including expert-vetted content on teaching strategies and a roadmap for administrators.

[i] California Department of Finance. Omnibus Education Trailer Bill, Sec. 14. 46300 and Sec. 15 48000. www.dof.ca.gov/budgeting/trailer_bill_language/education/documents/%5B401-409,%20413-416,%20423,%20427-429,%20432,%20443%5D%20Omnibus%20Education%20Trailer%20Bill.pdf
[ii] 2012 School Services of California, Inc. The Fiscal Report: an informational update. Ask SSC…Questions and Answers about Transitional Kindergarten – Part 2. http://www.preschoolcalifornia.org/our-issues/transitional-kindergarten/school-services-districts.html
[iii] Association of California School Administrators, Governmental Relations. Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten. http://www.preschoolcalifornia.org/resources/resource-files/acsa-tk-kindergarten-status.pdf
[iv] SIA Cabinet Report. May budget still seeks to make kindergarten readiness optional. http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=2367
[v] Map: California School Districts Implementing Transitional Kindergarten. http://www.preschoolcalifornia.org/our-issues/transitional-kindergarten/map.html
[vi] Press Release: Legislators, School Districts, Educators, Parents Affirm Strong Support for Transitional Kindergarten. http://www.preschoolcalifornia.org/resources/resource-files/legislators-school.pdf

 

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