Kindergarten

Kindergarten Programs Overview

The 2013 Omnibus Education Finance and Policy Bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Dayton provides funding to districts to administer all-day, every-day kindergarten programming. The new law funds all-day, every-day kindergarten pupils at the same funding level as first grade students, as long as the all-day, every-day kindergarten program:

• is cost free to parents;
• meets the minimum hours requirement in Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.41, and;
• is made available to all kindergarten pupils at the pupil’s school. (See Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.05, Subdivision 1, paragraph (d).

The new law does not require districts to offer free all-day, every day kindergarten. A district may choose to offer only all-day, every-day kindergarten, only half-day or alternate-day kindergarten or some combination of both. However, districts cannot offer both types of programs and then assign students to either the all-day or half-day program. Districts with schools that offer all-day programs that are not made available to all pupils at the school are not eligible to receive all-day funding for their all-day students. The law does not prohibit a school from conducting all-day, every-day programing and half-day or alternate day programming in the same classroom.

While a school is not required to offer a half-day or alternate day program, Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.22, Subdivision 12, paragraph (b), requires a school board to excuse a kindergarten child from part of a school day at the request of the child’s parent. In other words, a district may choose to offer only all-day, every-day kindergarten but a parent may choose to request that their child be excused from part of that full day and the school board must excuse the student. A child who is excused from part of the school day in a full-time program is considered a part-time student and is counted as a fraction of an Adjusted Daily Membership (ADM), based on the portion of the school day the student attends.

Minnesota Statutes, section 120A.22 also allows a parent to withdraw a child from an all-day, every-day kindergarten program and enroll their child in a half-day program, if offered, or an alternate day program without the student being considered truant.

Districts are obligated to provide transportation before the school day starts and after the school day ends. If a district offers only all-day, every-day kindergarten, the district is only required to provide transportation before the all-day kindergarten school day starts and after the all-day kindergarten school day ends. If a district offers both all-day and half-day programs, the district is required to provide transportation to half-day students at the end of their school day and transportation to all-day students at the end of their school day.

The district is required to provide transportation within the attendance area of the school that the student attends. If a school district has only one kindergarten program, then the attendance area and the school district boundary are the same. If a school district has more than one school offering a kindergarten program, then a school district may develop kindergarten attendance areas for the schools. The district is obligated to provide transportation for a student only within the kindergarten attendance area of the school that the student attends.

If you have questions regarding kindergarten programs contact Debbykay Peterson at 651-582-8426.

If you have questions regarding transportation contact Kelly Wosika at 651-582-8855.