Under existing law, the school finance formula provides funding for half-day kindergarten educational programs plus a small additional amount of supplemental kindergarten funding. The bill provides funding through the school finance formula for full-day kindergarten educational programs. A student enrolled in a full-day kindergarten educational program will be funded at the same amount as students enrolled full-time in other grades. A student enrolled in a half-day kindergarten educational program will be funded as a half-day student plus the existing amount of supplemental kindergarten funding.
Under existing law, many school districts charge parents of students enrolled in full-day kindergarten a fee to fund the full-day kindergarten educational program. After passage of the bill, a school district or a charter school that provides a full-day kindergarten educational program shall not charge fees for attending kindergarten other than those fees that are routinely charged to parents of students enrolled in other grades and are applicable to the kindergarten educational program. However, if the general assembly stops funding kindergarten students as full-time pupils, then a school district or charter school may resume charging a fee or tuition for the unfunded portion of the school day.
Under existing law, a school district may use a half-day preschool position to enroll a child in full-day kindergarten. The bill prohibits using a preschool position to enroll a child in full-day kindergarten. A school district that used preschool positions in this manner in the 2018-19 budget year will retain the positions in the 2019-20 budget year and budget years thereafter to the extent the school district fills the positions with preschool students.
The bill directs a school district that is not offering a full-day kindergarten educational program as of the 2019-20 school year to submit a plan to the department of education addressing how it could phase in a full-day kindergarten educational program, but a school district is not required to offer a full-day kindergarten educational program.
If a charter school seeks to expand an existing half-day kindergarten educational program to full day, it must notify the charter authorizer and amend the charter contract, if necessary. If the authorizer objects to the program expansion, the charter school and the authorizer must negotiate a change to the charter contract. If the parties cannot agree, the charter school may appeal the issue to the state board of education for a determination. Any renegotiation of the charter school's contract must be limited to the issue of expanding the kindergarten educational program.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)