Transitional Kindergarten in Alameda?

01.24.2012 | Alameda Patch | Eve Pearlman

“Transitional Kindergarten,” or a structured learning program for students too young for regular kindergarten, was passed into California law in 2010

The planned new transitional kindergarten program was designed to
serve students who are made ineligible for regular kindergarten as the
cutoff date for public school moves from Dec. 2 to Sept. 1, shifting
back one month a year over three years.

[So, for the 2011–12 school year children had to be 5 by Dec. 2 to
enter kindergarten. In 2012-13, they must be 5 by Nov. 1. In 2013-14,
children must be 5 by Oct.1, and for 2014-15, and every year after,
students must be 5 by Sept. 1. for kindergarten.]

But the current California budget proposal includes no money for transitional kindergarten.

“Funding for this program has been completely taken out of the
picture by this budget proposal,” Robert Shemwell, the district’s chief
business officer told the Alameda Unified School board Tuesday night. 

The program was slated to begin in the fall in Alameda, with two
classrooms being established to serve children with late fall birthdays.
But now all bets are off.

“Right now we have this limbo zone, but we are being told that this
program is very likely not to be funded,” Shemwell said. “Not funding
transitional kindergarten is a way for the state to save some dollars in
this coming year.”

If the state education budget changes, and transitional kindergarten
is once again funded and mandated, Alameda Unified will have
transitional kindergarten for eligible students, Shemwell said. 

If there is transitional kindergarten it will, by state law, be
required to be housed at existing school sites (based on enrollment pool
and site capacity), be developmentally appropriate, and aligned with
kindergarten standards.

“We have to plan as if it is required and as if it is not funded,”
said AUSD’s director of curriculum and instruction Katie Lyons. “It’s
not funded right now.”

“There will be more budget updates throughout the spring,” said Lyons.

For now, impacted families will have to wait.

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