Provide Transitional Kindergarten in all age-eligible California school districts

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The Kindergarten Readiness Act (SB 1381), passed in September 2010, changed the required birthday for admission to kindergarten in California from December 2 to September 1. SB 1381 also created a new program for young 5 year olds (those turning five between September 2 and December 2) called transitional kindergarten.

According to the California Department of Education, all age-eligible California school districts are required to provide transitional kindergarten. However, some do not. In particular, some basic aid districts (districts who receive little state funding, because their revenue from local property taxes exceeds what they would receive under the Local Control Funding Formula) have chosen to not offer transitional kindergarten. 

I am a parent of a child whose birthday falls between September 2-December 2. He will not be 5 by September 1, therefore unable to start kindergarten until the following year. I recently discovered my son’s school district no longer offers transitional kindergarten. They say they are a basic aid district and receive no funding from the state for the program.

The bill's author, retired State Senator Joe Simitian, argues that parents such as myself can either, “persuade their [school] board to provide the program...litigate, or they can ask the state Legislature to reconfirm the fact that (transitional kindergarten) is a requirement.” https://www.almanacnews.com/news/2013/10/20/transitional-kindergarten-debate-required-or-not

I am asking my state legislature to do the latter. While this bill was passed into law eight years ago, California school districts are clearly not all in agreement with its current language, leaving parents such as myself confused about our options for choice. 

I have spoken with my son’s school district and their response to me was that there was no funding in their budget for a program that is not state mandated. However, per the TK funding page (http://www.tkcalifornia.org/tk-roadmap/funding/ “according to School Services of California, ‘For funding purposes, transitional kindergarten (TK) is kindergarten. Any funding (federal, state, and local) currently provided to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support kindergarten (K) also includes TK pupils.’”

Furthermore, "the 2015-16 state budget further clarified the law to allow school districts to enroll 4 year olds even if they turn 5 after the December cutoff date, providing another local option to get more children ready for kindergarten." http://www.tkcalifornia.org/about-tk/about-tk.html

Please help me reconcile my son's school district's interpretation of the law with what the California Department of Education, tkcalifornia.org, Senate Bill 1381, and EdCode 48000c claim is true.

Reconfirm the fact that transitional kindergarten is a requirement in California and that "districts must offer TK and kindergarten classes for all age-eligible children to attend." https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderfaq.asp

Thank you!

Katherine Fitzpatrick

San Diego, California

 



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