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Capo's Transitional Kindergarten on Hold Under Brown's Budget

Capo Unified was going to offer a special program for students who don't turn 5 by the new cutoff date, but governor's proposed budget could eliminate the program.

Capistrano Unified has frozen its plan to launch a transitional kindergarten class for students who don’t quite qualify for regular kindergarten in September.

The so-called TK program could get cut under the for the 2012-13 year.

“The district’s TK program is on hold until we get a more definitive view of the state budget,” said Marcus Walton, spokesman for the .

Brown is calling for a November ballot measure that would temporarily increase the sales tax by a half cent and lodge additional taxes on people earning $250,000 or more a year. But even if voters agree, funding for transitional kindergarten is gone.

“The budget summary states that it is time for reinvestment and reform, not for program expansions,” wrote Pamela Watkins, CUSD’s director of elementary and early childhood programs, on the district’s website. “Sadly, it does not provide funding for the new transitional kindergarten (TK) program as previously planned.”

In 2010, the Legislature voted to change the qualifying fifth birthdate for kindergartners from December to Sept. 1. The new law gave school districts the option to switch directly to the September cutoff or ease into it by pushing back the deadline one month each year for three years, starting with the 2012-13 school year.

Capo's Board of Trustees . At the same time, it voted to offer those students who didn’t quite make the new qualifying ages an opportunity to attend a transitional class that would have ultimately given them two years of kindergarten.

The district had planned a meeting for parents interested in the TK program for Tuesday, but that meeting is now canceled, Watkins wrote. She urged parents to keep checking back for more information.

“As we regroup, we will consider offering fee-based preschool options for students who do not qualify to attend kindergarten in fall 2012,” Watkins wrote.

Using the demographics of this year’s kindergarten class, 281 students would have qualified for the transitional kindergarten with a Nov. 1 enrollment cutoff date, Julie Hatchel, assistant superintendent of education services, told the Board of Trustees in September. 

Capo mom January 06, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Transitional "kindergarten" is nothing more than an ADA scam. Good riddance.
PC January 06, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Sounds like a baby sitter program... don't wait for Jerry.
Karen January 07, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Four year old's don't need to be in school. Let's fix the the other grades and bring down class sizes. There has been enough notice about changing the age cut off for parents to make other arrangements.
Pam Sunderman January 07, 2012 at 03:02 AM
If you would like to know more about what this issue is really about please visit the site of the California Kindergarten Association. The law was written by Senator Simitian and supported by parents, teachers, and early childhood specialists. It is a tragedy that the setback of the entry date will potentially leave children without an age appropriate alternative. 40+ states (sorry, don't have the exact # at hand) have an earlier cutoff date for Kindergarten entry. This law is an attempt to do what is best for children...period.
Penny Arévalo January 07, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Without a FREE age-appropriate alternative. Most private schools have kindergarten cut-off dates of Sept. 1 or even June 1. Some do offer a TK-type program that is a step up from preschool offerings. For example, Stoneybrooke offers a "junior kindergarten" for students turning 5 between June 1-December 2. I'm sure there are many others in South County.
Pam Sunderman January 07, 2012 at 04:55 AM
Penny, the children who will suffer the most come from families that may not be able to afford preschool. The TK program was part of the original legislation so that no child would be left without critical educational opportunities. You are correct that there are many fee based preK opportunities but in this economy even many families who could have afforded the fees will not be able to do so now. Moving the cutoff date was the right thing to do. The TK program was designed to be a cost neutral solution for children who missed the earlier cutoff.
Capo mom January 07, 2012 at 05:38 PM
It was all for "the children" .... The more time low income students spend in class at CUSD, the worse they do. Save it jollygirl, this was a revenue grab.
Pam Sunderman January 07, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Here is another link for information on the reasons behind rolling back the K entry date and the need for a Transitional K program. http://www.preschoolcalifornia.org/resources/resource-files/save-kindergarten-press.pdf Would you care to share your date to back up the comment "The more time low income students spend in class at CUSD, the worse they do" Capo mom? In truth, CUSD schools are recognized statewide for the progress made by "low income" students. The data can be found on the district website.
Pam Sunderman January 08, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Here is another link about how a good preschool/kindergarten program works for every child at their own developmental level...making for a good transition into primary grades. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggio_Emilia_approach

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