Is your district prepared to meet state law requirements related to prekindergarten programs? This week in our TCASE/ED311 Spring Conference on Special Education Law Webinar Series, Andrea Gulley of Walsh Gallegos Treviño Russo & Kyle, P.C. discussed new requirements for prekindergarten programs in the State of Texas in her talk, “Full Day Pre-K: Implications for Special Ed.” According to the Texas Education Agency, all school districts with 15 or more eligible children who are four years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year must have a prekindergarten program.
Who is eligible? To be eligible, a child must be at least three years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year, if a three-year-old program is available, or four years of age, if only a four-year-old program is available. The child must also meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
- is unable to speak and comprehend the English language; or
- is educationally disadvantaged (which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program… guidelines can be found here); or
- is homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 1143a, regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child; or
- is the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority; or
- is the child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty; or
- is or ever has been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (foster care) following an adversary hearing held as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code; or
- is the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as: a peace officer under Section 3106.002, Government Code; a firefighter under Section 3106.003, Government Code; or an emergency medical first responder under Section 3106.004, Government Code.
If you missed Andrea Gulley’s presentation this past Monday, you can still register and view it online by clicking here. TEA has also issued this FAQ covering the basics on prekindergarten programs.
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