By George H.B. No. 605
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
1-1 AN ACT
1-2 relating to prekindergarten programs for public school students.
1-3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
1-4 SECTION 1. Subchapter E, Chapter 29, Education Code, is
1-5 amended by amending Section 29.153 and adding Sections 29.1531 and
1-6 29.1532 to read as follows:
1-7 Sec. 29.153. FREE PREKINDERGARTEN FOR CERTAIN CHILDREN. (a)
1-8 A [
Any school district may offer prekindergarten classes, but a]
1-9 district shall offer prekindergarten classes if the district
1-10 identifies 15 or more [ eligible] children who are eligible under
1-11 Subsection (b) and are at least four years of age. A school
1-12 district may offer prekindergarten classes if the district
1-13 identifies 15 or more eligible children who are at least three
1-14 years of age. A district may not charge tuition for a
1-15 prekindergarten class offered under this section.
1-16 (b) A child is eligible for enrollment in a prekindergarten
1-17 class under this section if the child is at least three years of
1-18 age and is:
1-19 (1) unable to speak and comprehend the English
1-21 (2) educationally disadvantaged; or
1-22 (3) homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302,
1-23 regardless of the residence of the child, of either parent of the
1-24 child, or of the child's guardian or other person having lawful
2-1 control of the child.
2-2 (c) A prekindergarten class under this section shall be
2-3 operated on a half-day basis. A district is not required to
2-4 provide transportation for a prekindergarten class, but
2-5 transportation, if provided, is included for funding purposes as
2-6 part of the regular transportation system.
2-7 (d) On application of a district, the commissioner may
2-8 exempt a district from the application of this section if the
2-9 district would be required to construct classroom facilities in
2-10 order to provide prekindergarten classes.
2-11 (e) Each school district shall develop a system to notify
2-12 the population in the district with children who are eligible for
2-13 enrollment in a prekindergarten class under this section of the
2-14 availability of the class. The system must include public notices
2-15 issued in English and Spanish.
2-16 Sec. 29.1531. TUITION-SUPPORTED PREKINDERGARTEN. (a) A
2-17 school district may offer on a tuition basis prekindergarten
2-18 classes to children who:
2-19 (1) are at least three years of age on September 1;
2-21 (2) are not eligible for classes under Section 29.153.
2-22 (b) A district that offers a prekindergarten program on a
2-23 tuition basis may not adopt a tuition rate for the program that is
2-24 higher than necessary to cover the costs of providing the program.
2-25 Sec. 29.1532. PREKINDERGARTEN PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS.
2-26 (a) [ (f)] A school district's prekindergarten program shall be
2-27 designed to develop skills necessary for success in the regular
3-1 public school curriculum, including language, mathematics, and
3-2 social skills.
3-3 (b) [ (g)] If a school district contracts with a private
3-4 entity for the operation of the district's prekindergarten program,
3-5 the program must at a minimum comply with the applicable child-care
3-6 licensing standards adopted by the Department of Protective and
3-7 Regulatory Services under Section 42.042, Human Resources Code.
3-8 SECTION 2. This Act applies beginning with the 2001-2002
3-9 school year.
3-10 SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
3-11 a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
3-12 provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
3-13 Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
3-14 Act takes effect September 1, 2001.