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Transitional Kindergarten Iffy, but Sign Up Anyway

01.25.2012 | Piedmont Patch | Dixie Jordon

Piedmont Unified School District won’t know until June if the state will fund transitional kindergarten,
a program for children who miss the age cutoff for regular kindergarten
by a month or so, Asst. Supt. Randall Booker told Board of Education
members Tuesday night.

But parents of children who will turn 5 between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2,
2012, should register their children just in case, Booker said.

He urged those parents to come to the district’s new student enrollment day
on March 8, necessary paperwork in hand. They will notified later if
PUSD will offer transitional kindergarten for the 2012-13 scchool year.

That’s the only way the district will know for sure how many children
might enroll in transitional kindergarten next year, Booker said.

For the coming school year, children must turn 5 by Nov. 1, a month
earlier than in previous years, to enroll in regular kindergarten. The
cutoff date for 2013-14 is Oct. 1, and for 2014-15, Sept. 1.

California requires local school districts to offer transitional
kindergarten for the 2012-13 school year, but Gov. Jerry Brown’s
proposed budget eliminates funding for the program, leaving PUSD and
other districts in limbo.

“it’s a dilemma for families,” Booker said Tuesday. “We’re getting
questions about whether they should enroll their children in preschool
[for the coming year] or not.”

Many school districts are already “collapsing” transitional kindergarten programs planned for next year, he said.

But Gov. Brown or the state legislature could restore the funding,
and in that case, PUSD would have to offer transitional kindergarten in
2012-13, Supt. Constance Hubbard noted.

“We won’t know if funding is in the budget or not until June,” she said, so PUSD needs to plan just in case.

Hubbard and Booker noted that school districts would receive ADA
(average daily attendance) monies for children in transitional
kindergarten once those students turn 5, even if other state funding for
the program is eliminated.

Transitional kindergarten would provide an extra year of public
education for children with birthdays in the target range. They would
move into regular kindergarten the following year.

The program would share some elements with pre-kindergarten classes
at preschools and some with regular kindergarten. In PUSD, transitional
kindergarten would only be offered at one elementary school site, and
likely in combination with a regular kindergarten class, Booker said
earlier. Children would move to their assigned neighborhood schools for
regular kindergarten.

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