Important Update on Transitional Kindergarten for LA Charter Schools

  • Print

June 22, 2012 July 5 UPDATE: The Budget Act of 2012 includes funding for Transitional Kindergarten. For updated information click here.

Los Angeles charter schools recently received a letter from the LAUSD Charter Schools Division regarding Transitional Kindergarten. This informative is intended to help you respond to the letter and to understand the California Charter Schools Association's reading of SB 1381.

It is the position of the California Charter Schools Association that the applicable law, SB 1381, regarding Transitional Kindergarten does not require charter schools to offer Transitional Kindergarten. CCSA has arrived at this position after considerable analysis by our legal team and policy analysts.

Transitional Kindergarten is not a requirement on all public schools; it is a requirement on school districts. The law only requires offering transitional kindergarten as a condition of receiving apportionment for it. If a charter school wants to receive apportionment for Transitional Kindergarten, then it must offer Transitional Kindergarten. However, because it is not required, it is up to individual schools to determine whether to offer it.

Transitional Kindergarten

SB 1381 moves up the minimum entrance age for kindergarten by one month, each year, for three years, starting in the 2012-2013 school year. Students must turn five on or before 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.

The law authorizes a new "Transitional Kindergarten" for children who fall in the 1-3 month "gap" period. Transitional Kindergarten is "the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate."

Transitional Kindergarten requirements and funding are currently provide for under the law; however, the budget act has not been finalized and funding for Transitional Kindergarten is not guaranteed until that time.

Implementing Transitional Kindergarten

You are not required to implement a Transitional Kindergarten program. Should your school choose to do so, you should know that there are no content standards for Transitional Kindergarten. There is nothing in the law that requires setting up separate classrooms; furthermore, there is nothing that prohibits multi-age classrooms settings or requires the purchase of new curriculum. According to the California Department of Education, the program must modify the local course of study in order to provide age and developmentally appropriate curriculum for transitional kindergarten.

Responding to the Letter from the Charter Schools Division

If you do not intend on receiving an apportionment for Transitional Kindergarten and you have not enrolled children whose birthday makes them eligible for Transitional Kindergarten:

  • We suggest that you consider responding that the school has no students on the line that asks for "Number of Students for Transitional Kindergarten".

If you have enrolled children whose birthday makes them eligible for Transitional Kindergarten you should describe how you intend on implementing the program for eligible students.

The fate of Transitional Kindergarten in the legislature this year is still unclear. However, both the Assembly and Senate budget subcommittees have approved the funding for it, despite the Governor's proposal to eliminate the funding and not require implementation. There is NO proposal to require implementation and NOT get funding. Charter schools are encouraged to consult with their own legal counsel regarding the appropriate response for their individual school to the LAUSD letter.

Please refer to the California Department of Education FAQ's on Transitional Kindergarten for additional information.