San Francisco Schools Won’t Offer Transitional Kindergarten in 2012-13

A state law signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2010 required school districts to start phasing in a new transitional kindergarten grade over a three-year period. The new set of classes is intended for students too young to be in traditional kindergarten but too old to be in pre-school. Under a transitional kindergarten program, students who turn five years old by Sept 1 in any school year would qualify to enroll.

But Governor Jerry Brown’s recently proposed budget called for eliminating funding for transitional-K programs, even though many districts have already started pilot programs. San Francisco was one of those districts, but it announced today it won’t offer transitional kindergarten in the next school year due to the uncertainty surrounding funding.

Here’s the announcement posted on the SFUSD web site today:

Effective immediately, SFUSD will not be offering Transitional Kindergarten (TK) for the 2012-2013 school year. Only students turning 5 years old on or before Nov. 1 will be eligible for Kindergarten entry for the 2012-2013 school year.

In the Governor’s proposed budget for the 2012-2013 school year, school districts would not receive any funding for Transitional Kindergarten, and the state would not mandate districts to offer it. Given that SFUSD cannot afford to offer Transitional Kindergarten if it is not funded by the state, SFUSD will not plan to offer Transitional Kindergarten for the upcoming school year.

While the California Department of Education continues to provide updates and the situation may change over the course of the next several months, SFUSD is moving forward on the assumption that there will be insufficient funding to offer Transitional Kindergarten in the 2012-2013 budget. SFUSD is providing this notification so that families who were interested in TK can take action to make alternative arrangements for their children for the 2012-2013 school year.

SFUSD will not plan to offer Transitional Kindergarten (TK) unless it is state mandated. The legislature is required by law to adopt its budget by July 1 each year though in some recent years the state budget has been passed later than this. Transitional K will affect Kindergarten spaces throughout the district and cannot be accommodated with such late notice. Additionally, families need to plan for their child’s educational setting months in advance. If it is state mandated, SFUSD will offer Transitional Kindergarten spots at two Early Education schools in 2012-2013: Havard and McLaren Early Education Schools.

Update Thursday: From the Chronicle this morning:

San Francisco appeared to be the first district to cancel the program in the wake of the governor’s budget.

Other Bay Area school districts with existing transitional kindergarten programs, according to this list from the advocacy group Preschool California, include Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, and Palo Alto.

  • Friscoman2012@gmail.com

    SFUSD… This is unacceptable. How many dollars are you saving by wrecking the lives of every SF family with a kid that was going into TK? Only the ADA money for a few hundred students until they turn 5, which is a few months after the school year starts. This is a pittance compared to other programs that are unnecessary, such as immersion tracks which are widely used by illegal immigrants that DO NOT PAY TAXES.

  • Jeeto69

    Has anyone among SFUSD actually read the bill SB-1381? There are two part to it:

    “SB 1381, Simitian. Kindergarten: age of admission.
    (1) Existing law requires that a child be admitted to kindergarten
    at the beginning of a school year, or at any time later in the same
    year if the child will have his or her 5th birthday on or before
    December 2 of that school year. An elementary school is required
    to admit a child to the first grade during the first month of a school
    year if the child will have his or her 6th birthday on or before
    December 2 of that school year.
    This bill would change the required birthday for admission to
    kindergarten and first grade to November 1 for the 2012–13 school
    year, October 1 for the 2013–14 school year, and September 1 for
    the 2014–15 school year and each school year thereafter, and would
    require a child whose admission to a traditional kindergarten is
    delayed to be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program, as
    defined. The bill would require pupils who are participating in
    transitional kindergarten to be included in computing the average
    daily attendance of a school district in accordance with specified
    requirements. To the extent those changes establish new
    administrative duties on the governing boards of school districts
    in implementing the changes, they would impose a state-mandated
    local program.”

    Why have you decided to follow one part and not the other? If you can’t fund transitional kindergarten then halt the entire thing. You are here to serve the parents (who are taxpayers and your employers) and not to only do things which benefit board and teacher unions.

    The law allows at school boards discretion that a kid can be admitted to regular kindergarten. Why not do that? Why an easy way out?

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Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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