BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 1381
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          Date of Hearing:   August 4, 2010

                                Felipe Fuentes, Chair

                  SB 1381 (Simitian) - As Amended:  August 2, 2010 

          Policy Committee:                             Education Vote:8-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:              No


          Commencing with the 2011-12 school year, this bill,  as proposed  
          to be amended  , moves the kindergarten start date back one month  
          each year for three years until September 1 becomes the date a  
          child is required to be five years old to enroll in  
          kindergarten.   Specifically, this bill: 

          1)Establishes the following dates at which time a child must be  
            five years old to enroll in kindergarten: (a) December 2 of  
            the 2011-12 school year; (b) November 1 of the 2012-13 school  
            year; (c) October 1 of the 2013-14 school year; and (d)  
            September 1 of the 2014-15 school year and each year  

          2)Requires, commencing with the 2012-13 school year, a child who  
            would otherwise be eligible for enrollment in kindergarten to  
            be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program maintained  
            by a school district.  

          3)Defines "transitional kindergarten" (TK) as the first year of  
            a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified  
            kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally  
            appropriate.  This measure also requires the attendance of  
            pupils enrolled in a TK program to generate the same state  
            funding as the attendance of pupils enrolled in a traditional  

          4)Requires a child, commencing with the 2011-12 school year, to  
            be admitted to first grade of an elementary school during the  


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            first month of a school year if he or she has his or her sixth  
            birthday on or before specified dates (which corresponds with  
            the three-year gradual roll back of the kindergarten start  
            date), as specified.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)GF/98 revenue limit funding (general purpose) costs over the  
            following three year period:

                        |  2011-12  |   2012-13    | 2013-14  |
                        |   $19.8   |$40.5 million |  $57.2   |
                        |  million  |              |million   |
            These costs are associated with additional children attending  
            a TK program as opposed to enrolling in kindergarten.  For  
            example, many parents simply choose not to enroll their  
            children in kindergarten because their children have late fall  
            birthdays.  The Legislative Analyst Office assumes eight  
            percent of parents choose to "red shirt" their children and  
            not enroll them in kindergarten.  This measure establishes a  
            TK program and these costs assume the practice of "red  
            shirting" will no longer occur because school districts are  
            required to establish TK programs.   

            Once the full effect of rolling back the kindergarten age  
            requirement occurs (from December 2 to September 1), there  
            would be a GF/98 reallocation of $715.4 million from  
            kindergarten classes to TK programs, including the additional  
            revenue limit costs noted above.  Approximately 137,189  
            children would be affected over the three year period.  
            Likewise, there will be GF/98 cost pressure in the millions to  
            provide additional categorical program funding for these  
            pupils (i.e., economic impact aid, instructional materials,  

          2)Annual GF/98 state reimbursable mandated costs, of at least  
            $13.2 million, to school districts to hire additional teachers  
            for the TK programs.  

          3)Annual GF/98 state reimbursable mandated costs, of at least  
            $2.6 million, to school districts to provide professional  


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            development to teachers and purchase portable classroom  
            facilities for the TK program.  

           1)Purpose  .  In its analysis of The 2010-11 Budget: Proposition  
            98 and K-12 Education, the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO)  
            recommends moving the kindergarten start date back to  
            September 1 (requiring a child to have turned five prior to  
            entering kindergarten) beginning in the 2011-12 school year.  
            Specifically, the LAO states: "Many have argued that entering  
            kindergarten before turning five years of age is too young,  
            and beginning school at an older age would benefit children's  
            academic performance and social development. Data suggest  
            children who are older when they start kindergarten tend to  
            perform better on standardized tests. Some research suggests  
            this change also may lead to other positive student outcomes,  
            including less chance of grade retention and higher earnings  
            as an adult." 

            According to the author, "California is one of just four  
            states (along with Connecticut, Michigan and Vermont) with a  
            cut-off date later than December 1st. In most states, children  
            must turn five by September 1st in order to start  
            kindergarten. California allows children as young as four  
            years and nine months to start kindergarten as long as the  
            child turns five by December 2nd."  

            This bill, commencing with the 2012-13 school year, moves the  
            kindergarten start date back to September 1, which requires a  
            child to turn five years old on or before September 1 of that  
            school year. It also establishes a TK program for children who  
            turn five years old between September 1 and December 1, as  

           2)Author's amendments  .  In the Assembly Education Committee, the  
            author agreed to establish a TK program in the bill.  This  
            analysis reflects the proposed author's amendments and the  
            agreement made in the previous committee.


          3)Is it cost effective to require all school districts to  
            establish a TK program  ?  By requiring a school district to  
            establish a TK program, this bill creates a state reimbursable  
            mandated program at a time when the state currently owes a  


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            total of $3.2 billion GF/98 in outstanding K-12 mandate  

            Also, this measures requires a district to establish a TK  
            program for pupils who are displaced by rolling back the  
            kindergarten start date by one month over a three-year period.  
             This requirement will be fiscally ineffective for many small  
            school districts in the state.  For example, if a school  
            district only has two pupils who are eligible for the TK  
            program because their birthdays were in November, the district  
            is required to serve these pupils in this program.  Is it cost  
            effective for a school district to hire, train, and obtain a  
            facility to establish a TK program that will only serve two  

            Given the state's severe fiscal situation, the committee may  
            wish to consider whether it is appropriate to require school  
            districts to establish TK programs.  


          4)Existing law  does not require children to attend kindergarten.  
            If a child does attend, he or she must be admitted if the  
            child will have his or her fifth birthday on or before  
            December 2 of that school year. This bill does not propose to  
            make kindergarten mandatory; it does, however, propose to  
            incrementally roll back the age of kindergarten admission to  
            September 1 by the 2014-15 school year. 

           5)SDE study on changing the admission age of kindergarten  
            students  . In May 2004, the SDE submitted a report to the  
            Legislature on changing the kindergarten start date.  
            Specifically, the report states that changing the kindergarten  
            start date from December 1 to September 1 of each year would  
            delay approximately 114,235 children from entering  
            kindergarten for one year. It also affirms that this change  
            can potentially save the state up to $400 million beginning in  
            the second year of implementation. The amount of actual  
            savings would depend on the assumptions of how to support or  
            fund preschool services for those children whose entry into  
            kindergarten would be delayed. 


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            The SDE also cautioned that "rather than looking at the merits  
            of changing the kindergarten cut-off date by itself,  
            considerable thought should be given to the types of quality  
            preschool services available for children whose entry to  
            kindergarten would be delayed as well as for other children." 

           6)Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) establishes a TK  
            program  . In January 2010, Superintendent Ramon Cortines  
            announced the school district's plans to pilot this voluntary  
            program beginning in the 2010-11 school year with at least one  
            program in each of LAUSD's eight local districts. LAUSD's  
            program will emphasize pre-literacy instruction to develop  
            beginning reading and mathematics skills. In addition to  
            building cognitive skills, the program also seeks to address  
            the development and enhancement of social and emotional skills  
            that are important factors in doing well in school. 

           7)Related legislation  . 

             a)   AB 1967 (Mendoza), commencing with the 2012-13 school  
               year, moves the kindergarten start date back to September  
               1, which requires a child to turn five years old on or  
               before September 1 of that school year.  This measure was  
               held on this committee's suspense file in May 2010.  

             b)   AB 1236 (Mullin) established the Kindergarten Year 1 and  
               Kindergarten Year 2 pilot program for children eligible for  
               kindergarten. This bill was held on this committee's  
               Suspense File in May 2008. 

             c)   AB 2596 (Runner) incrementally changed the age at which  
               a child is admitted to kindergarten. After three years  
               (beginning in 2009-10), a child that has his or her fifth  
               birthday on or before September 1 will be able to enroll in  
               kindergarten. This bill was held on this committee's  
               Suspense File in May 2006. 


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           Analysis Prepared by  :    Kimberly Rodriguez / APPR. / (916)