By Giddings                                           H.B. No. 2609
         77R1583 BDH-D                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to prekindergarten programs for public school students.
 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:
 1-8     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
1-20     language;
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:
2-18                 (1)  an additional half-day of prekindergarten classes
2-19     to children eligible for classes under Section 29.153; and
2-20                 (2)  half-day and full-day prekindergarten classes to
2-21     children 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 added costs of providing the
2-25     program.
2-27     (a) [(f)]  A school district's prekindergarten program shall be
 3-1     designed to develop skills necessary for success in the regular
 3-2     public school curriculum, including language, mathematics, and
 3-3     social skills.
 3-4           (b) [(g)]  If a school district contracts with a private
 3-5     entity for the operation of the district's prekindergarten program,
 3-6     the program must at a minimum comply with the applicable child-care
 3-7     licensing standards adopted by the Department of Protective and
 3-8     Regulatory Services under Section 42.042, Human Resources Code.
 3-9           (c)  A school district that offers prekindergarten classes
3-10     shall include the following information in the district's Public
3-11     Education Information Management System (PEIMS) report:
3-12                 (1)  demographic information, as determined by the
3-13     commissioner, on students enrolled in district prekindergarten
3-14     classes, including the number of students who are eligible for
3-15     classes under Section 29.153;
3-16                 (2)  the numbers of half-day and full-day
3-17     prekindergarten classes offered by the district; and
3-18                 (3)  the sources of funding for the prekindergarten
3-19     classes.
3-20           SECTION 2. Section 29.154, Education Code, is amended to read
3-21     as follows:
3-22           Sec. 29.154.  EVALUATION OF PREKINDERGARTEN PROGRAMS.  (a)
3-23     The commissioner of education, in consultation with the
3-24     commissioner of human services, shall monitor and evaluate
3-25     prekindergarten programs as to their developmental appropriateness.
3-26     The commissioners shall also evaluate the potential for
3-27     coordination on a statewide basis of prekindergarten programs with
 4-1     government-funded early childhood care and education programs such
 4-2     as child care administered under Chapter 44, Human Resources Code,
 4-3     and federal Head Start programs.  That evaluation shall use
 4-4     recommendations contained in the report to the 71st Legislature
 4-5     required by Chapter 717, Acts of the 70th Legislature, Regular
 4-6     Session, 1987.  For the purpose of providing cost-effective care
 4-7     for children during the full workday with developmentally
 4-8     appropriate curriculum, the commissioners shall investigate the use
 4-9     of existing child-care program sites as prekindergarten sites.
4-10     Following the evaluation required by this subsection [section], the
4-11     commissioners, in cooperation with school districts and other
4-12     program administrators, shall integrate programs, staff, and
4-13     program sites for prekindergarten, child-care, and federal Head
4-14     Start programs to the greatest extent possible.
4-15           (b)  The agency, in cooperation with the Texas Department of
4-16     Human Services, federal Head Start programs, and other providers of
4-17     prekindergarten programs in this state receiving state and federal
4-18     funds, shall develop indicators for the evaluation of
4-19     prekindergarten programs.  Using the indicators adopted under this
4-20     subsection, the agency shall review all school district
4-21     prekindergarten programs that receive state or federal funds.  A
4-22     review under this subsection shall be performed as part of the
4-23     accreditation review of the district under Subchapter D, Chapter
4-24     39.
4-25           SECTION 3. This Act applies beginning with the 2001-2002
4-26     school year.
4-27           SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
 5-1     a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
 5-2     provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
 5-3     Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
 5-4     Act takes effect September 1, 2001.