As part of recently enacted legislation Little Elm ISD was required to put a call out for pre-kindergarten partnerships.
But it wasn’t required to enter into one.
As a result of House Bill 3, districts across the state have received the Early Education Allotment, which provides funding to help students improve performance in reading and math, including supporting full-day pre-kindergarten for eligible 4-year-olds.
If districts weren’t able to begin the program in the 2019-20 school year they must submit a waiver request. Part of the waiver is to put a call out for community partners to help in the effort.
Cyndy Mika, assistant superintendent for curriculum and learning services, said during a recent board meeting that LEISD put a call out for partners in October. She said two vendors presented a proposal, but the district opted not go forward with them.
“We feel like we will be able to fulfill the requirements of the waiver,” Mika said. “This is the first year for the waiver, and there were no requirements except for the call for partnership and consideration.”
In 2020-21 the requirement is to open up one full-day pre-K classroom for 4-year-olds either with a partner or in-house.
“We believe we will be able to do that with our current staff and facilities,” Mika said.
In 2021-22 the district would need to open a second full-day pre-K classroom for 4-year-olds.
“As our Early Childhood Center has always been part of our plans for the bond we would be opening that within three-year exemption waiver,” Mika said.
To be eligible the students must be an English learner, educationally disadvantaged, meaning they are on the free and reduced lunch program, be homeless, or be a child of an active duty member of the military or of those killed or injured in the line of duty.
Other criteria includes a conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services, a child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Award as a peace officer, firefighter or emergency first responder and any services designated through an individual education plan.