The Madeleine Brand Show for February 17, 2012

State budget cuts threaten transitional kindergarten programs

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez/KPCC

A transitional kindergarten class in Long Beach serves kids who are about to turn five-years-old at the beginning of the school years. Governor Jerry Brown proposed cutting funding for the classes to start in the fall.

It's kindergarten sign-up time in most Southern California school districts, a yearly headache for parents whose children have birthdays late in the year.

This year, the problem has been compounded by the changing cut-off for enrollment. The new law, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in October, will shift back the cutoff date by one month per year beginning in 2012. The goal is that by the end of 2014, all students in kindergarten will have turned five by Sept. 1.

To add to the confusion, the law also allowed many school districts to introduce pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. These programs are being referred to as "transitional kinder." But with Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget cuts looming, this idea of pre-kindergarten is in peril.

The confusion is felt not only among parents, who will be pressed to make earlier decisions about their children's enrollment, but also by school districts such as San Diego Unified and Los Angeles Unified who remain unsure of whether their transitional kinder programs will be funded, as the Huffington Post Reports.

KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez reports on the potential impact state budget cuts will have on these transitional kindergarten programs.


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