BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           1381 (Simitian)
          Hearing Date:  08/31/2010           Amended: 08/30/2010
          Consultant:  Dan Troy           Policy Vote: ED 8-0
          BILL SUMMARY:   SB 1381 would change the date by which a child  
          is required to be admitted to kindergarten at the beginning of  
          the school year (or any time later in the school year) from  
          December 2 of the year in which the child will have his or her  
          5th birthday to November 1 for the 2012-13 school year, October  
          1 of the 2013-14 school year, and September 1 for the 2014-15  
          school year and each year thereafter.  A corresponding change  
          for admittance to 1st grade would be made for a child having his  
          or her 6th birthday during the year.  

          The bill would also create an ongoing "transitional"  
          kindergarten program - the first year of a two-year kindergarten  
          program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age  
          and developmentally appropriate - for those pupils impacted by  
          the change in age of admission date.  Effectively, this bill  
          would bill would allow districts to claim funding for two years  
          of kindergarten for children born between September and  
          December, assuming certain conditions are met.
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions        2010-11      2011-12       2012-13     Fund
          Age of admission/               Major savings from K age of  
          admission       General* 
          Transitional Kindergarten       change.  These savings would  
          likely be
                                   more than offset by creation of a  
                                   Transitional Kindergarten program.  
                                   Major costs to state once initial  
                                   exit from the K-12 system. (See  
          *Counts toward meeting the Proposition 98 minimum funding  



          STAFF COMMENTS: This bill meets the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.
          Current law makes education compulsory for individuals aged 6  
          through 18. While current law does not compel kindergarten  
          attendance, it requires districts to offer admittance to  
          kindergarten at the beginning of the school year for a child who  
          will turn 5 on before December 2 of that calendar year.  Thus  
          many children begin kindergarten several months before their  
          fifth birthday.  By moving the cutoff date of admission to  
          September 1 (the change would be phased in over 3 years), this  
          bill would essentially ensure that kindergarteners would be aged  
          5 or older at or near the beginning of the school year.   

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          SB 1381 (Simitian)

          Current law provides for general purpose funding to school  
          districts through the revenue limit program.  Each district has  
          a defined revenue limit per unit of average daily attendance  
          (ADA) that is based on historical expenditures on education as  
          modified through various statutory adjustments.  A district's  
          total revenue limit apportionment is calculated based on the  
          greater of current or prior year ADA.  

          Current law establishes the state preschool program, for  
          purposes of providing part-day and full-day programs of  
          educational development for three- and four-year old children.   
          Costs for full day preschool are approximately $3,700 per child,  

          This bill would phase in a change to the date by which districts  
          must offer kindergarten admission one month at a time, so that  
          the current cutoff of December 2 of the year in which a child  
          turns 5 would move back one month per year, commencing with the  
          2012-13 fiscal year, until settling in at September 1 in the  
          2014-15 year and each year thereafter.  The bill would make a  
          conforming adjustment for 6-year olds entering the first grade.   


          The bill would further allow district to claim ADA for children  
          participating in transitional kindergarten (TK) who turn 5  
          between September 2 and December 2 of the year in which they  
          turn 5.  A TK program is defined as the first year of a two-year  
          kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten  
          curriculum that is both age and developmentally appropriate. The  
          bill specifies that districts could not claim more than two  
          years of funding for a pupil in kindergarten or a combination of  
          two years in kindergarten or transitional kindergarten.  The  
          bill would specify that for good cause, the governing board of a  
          school district may permit a child of proper age to be admitted  
          to a class after the first school month of the school term.  The  
          bill further states Legislative intent that the ADA claimed  
          through TK counts for calculating revenue limit apportionments  
          and for the funding requirements of Proposition 98.

          By adjusting the date of admission back one month in three  
          successive years, this bill would reduce the size of the  
          kindergarten cohort by approximately 1/12th of the size it would  
          otherwise have been for three successive years.  These reduced  
          cohorts will flow though the K-12 system for 13 years each,  
          achieving programmatic savings in Proposition 98 programs during  
          that time.  The largest programmatic cost savings would be in  
          the revenue limit program.  

          These savings, however, are unlikely to materialize due to the  
          bill's creation of a transitional kindergarten for pupils who  
          turn age 5 during the between September 2 and December 2 (this  
          would also be phased in over three years).  By allowing pupils  
          born between September 2 and December 2 to attend transitional  
          kindergarten, this bill would lead to ongoing costs once the  
          initial smaller cohorts leave the system, if not sooner. This is  
          because the TK program essentially allows certain children to  
          attend two years of kindergarten instead of one depending on  
          their date of birth.  

          According to data provided by the Legislative Analyst's Office,  
          the earlier version of this bill would have reduced the number  
          of students in the K-12 system by approximately 43,000 in the  
          2012-13 school year, by 89,000 in the 2013-14 school year, and  
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          SB 1381 (Simitian)

          126,000 for the 2014-15 school year and for several years  
          thereafter, until these cohorts begin exiting the system in  


          2026-27. These estimates assumed 8 percent of eligible  
          kindergartners were "red shirted" (i.e., voluntarily held out of  
          school for a year even though eligible), annually. 

          Whether this bill will lead to immediate costs or savings  
          depends on the attractiveness of the new TK program to parents  
          of eligible children.  The Assembly Committee on Appropriations,  
          using the LAO data, for example, finds that if all parents who  
          would have otherwise chosen to red shirt their children choose  
          to enroll their children in the TK program, this bill would  
          result in new costs of approximately $19.8 million in the  
          2012-13 fiscal, $40.4 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year, and  
          $57.2 million in 2014-15 and several years thereafter.  

          The TK option may be an attractive one for parents, as it would  
          be free, presumably have a curriculum more aligned with the K-12  
          curriculum than would a typical preschool or day care situation,  
          and would represent a good landing spot for parents who would  
          otherwise hold a child back out of concern that he or she were  
          not quite ready for traditional kindergarten.  On the other  
          hand, to the extent parents hold their children back for  
          competitive purposes (i.e., they would prefer their child to be  
          older than other children in their class), this bill would be  
          unlikely to impact their decision to red shirt the child.  Staff  
          anticipates that while some parents will continue to hold their  
          children back, this bill will likely result in costs in the  
          millions, though perhaps not to the full extent estimated by  
          Assembly Committee on Appropriations. 

          Once the initial cohorts begin to move out of the K-12 system,  
          this bill would clearly result in major costs to the state.  In  
          the 2027-28 fiscal year, the reduced initial kindergarten  
          cohorts will have moved out of the system, but the state  
          commitment to fund TK for 130,000 to 150,000 children would  
          remain.  These costs would be approximately $700 to $900  
          million, annually.  

          It's possible the bill would also result in other costs or cost  
          pressures.  The bill indicates that transitional kindergarten is  
          to involve a modified curriculum that is age appropriate.  While  
          it is not clear how districts would address this issue, the  
          design of a modified curriculum could lead to local costs for  
          administration, professional development, and materials.  These  
          costs would likely be in the millions, though they would likely  
          be local rather than reimbursable at the state level. There  
          would likely be pressure at the state level to fund these costs,  



          Broadly, the Committee should consider whether delaying the age  
          of admission for traditional kindergarten is worth the cost  
          exposure to the state of providing an additional ongoing year of  
          transitional kindergarten for children that is accessible only  
          to children who are born between September 2 and December 2 and  
          that is not based on need.  

          A previous version of this bill passed out of the committee in a  
          different form.  That bill phased in the change in age for  
          kindergarten admission and expressed the intent of the  
          Legislature that half of the revenue limit savings resulting  

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          SB 1381 (Simitian)
          the reduction in ADA be used to expand access to preschool.   
          That version provided major programmatic savings the state over  
          a 15-year period.