Transitional kindergarten is back in Burlingame. In the past few months, the program has gone from to the , leaving school districts unable to properly plan for the upcoming school year. It now appears as though the state will fund the program.
“I’m excited that [transitional kindergarten] is going to take place,” said Superintendent Maggie MacIsaac. “[A] primary focus [of mine was] looking at kindergarten, and part of the foundation for that was transitional kindergarten.”
In October, Burlingame introduced transitional kindergarten as part of its curriculum, a class required under Senate Bill 1381.
Under the new Kindergarten Readiness Act, children must turn 5-years-old before Nov. 1 for kindergarten admittance in the 2012-2013 school year. The birthday cut-off will roll back to Oct. 1 for the 2013-2014 school year and finally Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 school year.
As part of the act, districts are required to provide a transitional kindergarten program for students turning 5 between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 who otherwise would have started kindergarten. However, in January Gov. Jerry Brown suggested cutting transitional kindergarten funding as part of an attempt to balance the state budget.
Since then, district officials have grappled with whether or not they would be able to fund the program without state money. This became especially tricky as kindergarten enrollment began in February, and some parents were left uncertain as to their children’s placement for the 2012-2013 school year.
While the state plans on funding transitional kindergarten for schools undertaking the program, it is not required throughout the state.
The transitional kindergarten program will take place at and also , depending on capacity. After the year of transitional kindergarten, students will return to their home schools. Parents with children turning five between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1 interested in transitional kindergarten should let their home school know of their interest, which will be accommodated based on capacity.