Considerations for Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation: Responses to Frequently Asked Questions (January 2014)

What does Minnesota’s kindergarten statute amended in 2013 state about full-day kindergarten?

Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.05, Subdivision 1(d) states that to qualify for the 1.0 kindergarten pupil unit weight in FY 2015 a pupil must be enrolled in a free, all-day, daily program that is available to all kindergarten students at the pupil’s school, and the annual calendar for the kindergarten program must include at least 850 hours of instruction, excluding meal times.

Are school districts required to offer full-day kindergarten?

Districts must provide a kindergarten program. However, schools are not required to offer full-day, daily kindergarten to all students. If a school district decides to offer full-day kindergarten, they are not required to also offer a half-day kindergarten program. Parents may choose the half-day kindergarten program, if the school offers it.

Districts may offer both full-day and half-day kindergarten programs, but if they offer full-day, then they must accept all students whose parents want them to attend the full-day program to qualify for full-day funding. The parent can choose whether to enroll their child in the full-day or half-day program. In the following situations, the pupil unit weighting will be 0.55 rather than 1.0 in FY 2015:

· The district offers both half-day and full-day programs and then assigns students to either full-day or half-day programs.
· The district limits enrollment in the full-day, daily program.
· The district prohibits transfers from half-day programs to full-day programs.

If a parent seeks a full-day kindergarten program for their child and the school within their attendance area does not provide the full-day program, the parent can:

· Request an intra-district transfer to a school with an acceptable kindergarten schedule.
· Open-enroll their child to a school district with an acceptable schedule, such as the full-day, daily kindergarten program.
· Apply to enroll in a charter school that offers an acceptable schedule.

Can a school enroll either half-day, daily or full-day, alternate day kindergarten students in the same classroom as full-day daily students?

Yes. However, the school will need to report the students on MARSS (Minnesota Automated Student Reporting System) with separate Kindergarten schedules so that the appropriate pupil unit weighting is applied.

Can a school include kindergarten students in a program for four-year-olds for half of the day, and then just the kindergarten students for the afternoon? Is this considered a full-day, daily kindergarten program?

This would be considered a half-day kindergarten program because half of the day utilizes pre-kindergarten, rather than kindergarten, curriculum.

What is the responsibility of school districts to provide transportation for kindergarten students enrolled in a full-day, daily program?

School districts are obligated to provide transportation before the school day starts and after the school day ends. If a district only offers full-day kindergarten, then there is no obligation for the district to provide transportation for a kindergarten student that only attends kindergarten half-day because that is not when the school day ends. If a district offered both full-day and half-day, they would be required to provide transportation to half-day students at the end of their school day and transportation to full-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 would be the same.

If a school district has more than one kindergarten program, then a school district may develop attendance areas for the schools. The district would only provide transportation within the attendance area of the school that the student attends. If a student chooses to attend a school on the far side of the district, the parents would be responsible to provide transportation across part of the district in order to arrive at the attendance area boundary of the school that the student is attending.