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SENATE PROPOSAL OF AMENDMENT 2007-2008

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H.534

 

     An act relating to prekindergarten education

     The Senate proposes to the House to amend the bill as follows:

First:  In Sec. 2, § 11(a)(31), after the words not eligible for by inserting the words or enrolled in

Second:  By striking out Sec. 3 in its entirety and inserting a new Sec. 3 to read:

Sec. 3.  16 V.S.A. § 829 is added to read:

§ 829.  PREKINDERGARTEN EDUCATION; RULES

The board of education, in consultation with the secretary of human services, shall adopt rules under chapter 25 of Title 3:

(1)  To ensure that, before a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to enroll students who are included in its average daily membership, the district engage the community in a collaborative process that includes an assessment of the need for the program in the community and an inventory of the existing service providers.

(2)  To ensure that, if a school district begins a prekindergarten education program or expands a prekindergarten education program by adding three-year-old children to a program established to serve four-year-old children and intends to include any of the students in its average daily membership, the district shall use existing qualified service providers to the extent that existing qualified service providers have the capacity to meet the district’s needs effectively and efficiently.

(3)  To require that the school district provides opportunities for effective parental participation in the prekindergarten education program. 

(4)  To establish a process by which a parent or guardian residing in the district or a provider, or both, may request a school district to enter into a contract with a provider located in or outside the district. 

(5)  To identify the services and other items for which state funds may be expended when prekindergarten children are counted for purposes of average daily membership, such as tuition reduction, quality improvements, or professional development for school staff or private providers.

(6)  To ensure transparency and accountability by requiring private providers under contract with a school district to report costs for prekindergarten programs to the school district and by requiring school districts to report these costs to the commissioner of education.

(7)  To require school districts to include identifiable costs for prekindergarten programs and essential early education services in their annual budgets and reports to the community.

(8)  To provide an appeal process for:

(A)  A parent, guardian, or provider to challenge an action of the school district when the appellant believes that the district is in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education.

(B)  A school district to challenge an action of a state agency, department, or board if the district believes the state entity has acted in violation of state statute or rules regarding prekindergarten education. 

(9)  To establish the minimum quality standards necessary for a district to include prekindergarten children within its average daily membership.  At a minimum, the standards shall include the following requirements:

(A)  A provider must have received:

(i)  National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accreditation; or

(ii)  At least four stars in the department for children and families STARS system with at least two points in each of the five arenas; or

(iii)  Three stars in the STARS system if the provider has developed a plan, approved by the commissioner for children and families and the commissioner of education, to achieve four or more stars within three years with at least two points in each of the five arenas, and the provider has met intermediate milestones; and

(B)  A licensed center shall employ or contract for the services of at least one teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title; and

(C)  A registered home shall receive regular, active supervision and training from a teacher who is licensed and endorsed in early childhood education or in early childhood special education under chapter 51 of this title.

(10)  To establish a process for documenting the progress of children enrolled in prekindergarten programs and to require public and private providers to use the process to collect and report child progress data to the commissioner of education on an annual basis.

Third:  In Sec. 6, § 4001, subdivision (1)(C), by striking out the following:  Although there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services, the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as follows:” and inserting in lieu thereof the following:  “Although the total number of prekindergarten children that a district may include within its average daily membership shall be limited as set forth in subdivisions (i) and (ii) below, there is no limit on the total number of children who may be enrolled in prekindergarten education or who receive essential early education services.  Each school district shall have sole discretion regarding the manner in which it limits total enrollment.

Fourth:  In Sec, 7, § 4010, subdivision (c)(3), by striking out the numeral “1.25” and inserting in lieu thereof the numeral 1.13

Fifth:  In Sec. 10, subdivision (3), after the words The statewide cost by inserting the following:  , including the cost to the education fund,

Sixth:  In Sec. 10, by adding three new subdivisions to be subdivisions (7) through (9) to read:

(7)  The measurable positive and negative effects that the prekindergarten programs covered by this act have had on the early development and learning experiences of young children in Vermont, including the programs’ effectiveness in addressing the extreme behavioral needs of young children.

(8)  The effect that the limits on the number of prekindergarten children that may be included within a district’s ADM established in Sec. 6 of this act have had on the ability to serve the needs of young children.

(9)  The advisability of eliminating or amending the ADM limits established in Sec. 6 of this act, including:

(A) An analysis of whether the elimination of the limits would effectively be a requirement that all districts provide prekindergarten education programs.

(B)  An analysis of the effect that elimination or amendment of the limits would be likely to have on the education fund.  

Seventh:  By striking out Sec. 11 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 11 to read:

Sec. 11.  TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

Any district that offered prekindergarten education during the 2006–2007 academic year shall not be affected by the provisions of 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C) in Sec. 6 of this act that limit the total number of prekindergarten children who may be counted within the district’s average daily membership; rather, the district may instead choose to include within its average daily membership the total number of prekindergarten children enrolled in its program, provided that the number does not exceed the highest number of prekindergarten children enrolled in any one of the following three academic years: 2004–2005, 2005–2006, or 2006–2007.  If, at any time, the district elects to determine its average daily membership of prekindergarten children based on the limitations in 16 V.S.A. § 4001(1)(C), the decision shall be final, and the district shall at all times be bound by that subdivision. 

Eighth:  By striking out Sec. 12 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof a new Sec. 12 to read:

Sec. 12.  CONSTRUCTION

Nothing in this act shall be construed to require a school district to provide a prekindergarten education program.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us