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Uncertain Future for Transitional Kindergarten

01.13.2012 | Patch | Miriam Finder

The transitional kindergarten
program planned by the Burlingame Elementary School District may be put
on hold following proposed state budget cuts by Gov. Jerry Brown.

In an attempt to balance the budget in California, Brown suggested
cutting transitional kindergarten funding, established under Senate Bill
1381.

The bill adjusts the kindergarten start date, mandating children turn
5 years old by Nov. 1 for the 2012-2013 school year, then Oct. 1 for
the 2013-2014 school year and finally Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 year. As
part of that adjustment, a transitional kindergarten program was
introduced for students who would otherwise begin kindergarten in the
2012-2013 school year, but now must wait under the bill.

Assistant Superintendent Jud Kempson said he believes in the
importance of transitional kindergarten and would like the program to
continue, but said it comes down to funding. Without money from the
state, the program will no longer be mandatory. In that case, district
officials must pull money from other programs if they want to keep
transitional kindergarten active.

“I think it would be advisable planning to move forward with
transitional kindergarten,” said Kempson. “I think it’s good for kids.
We just have to determine whether we can afford it.”

Although he said the district might need to wait for spring for a
definitive funding answer, district officials must decided on
transitional kindergarten beforehand, as kindergarten enrollment begins
in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s the springtime state budget dance,” Kempson said. “We’ll know [about funding] when the legislation approves the budget.”

Senate Bill 1381 led to an educational shake-up in Burlingame,
encouraging board members to overhaul the kindergarten program,
including smaller class sizes and full day instruction. Switching
kindergarten to a full-day model led to board members re-examining the
first and second grade program and the elimination of the early
bird/late bird program in favor of full-day instruction.

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