The Edinburg school district now offers full-day pre-K to 4-year-olds with the recent state legislative session’s impact on public education helping support the local measure.
School begins for the district on Aug. 26 and registration for children is available at any time of the school year, according to Rebecca Morrison, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. All 31 of the district’s elementary schools will offer this program.
“It was a combination of not only staff, furniture but also instructional resources,” Morrison said about implementing the full-day program in the district.
Morrison said administrators were closely monitoring the legislative session, which also contributed to the district’s expansion to a full-day program.
“We had our contingency plan, so when it did pass, Edinburg was ready to implement it, since we have been contingently planning for it,” Morrison said.
Students must be at least 4-years-old on or before Sept. 1 to be eligible to enroll in the program, area director Sandra Avila said in a news release.
Parents will also need to bring documents including a birth certificate, up-to-date immunization records, the child’s social security card, proof of household income and residency along with identification of the person registering the child, according to the district website.
“We do have an exceptional curriculum for our students,” Avila said in the news release. “We have our curriculum specialists that work extremely hard, developing readiness standards. A lot of our pre-K students are coming out of pre-K learning how to read.”
The recent legislative session impacted the district’s expansion in a full-day pre-K program.
Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3 in June, which reformed school finances, provided property tax relief and mandated pay raises for employees. Basic allotment increased from $5,140 to $6,160, according to the Texas Education Agency.
The law also provides an Early Education Allotment, “which provides weighted funding for each student at the district in Kindergarten through third grade that also qualifies for the compensatory education or bilingual allotment,” according to the state agency website.
The state’s requirements for eligibility for students have not changed as compared to half-day pre-K.
“The district, Edinburg itself, made the decision, we felt it was in the best interest of our community and our parents, to serve all children in our community, full-day,” Morrison said.
Last year, the district opened its half-day pre-K program for 4-year-olds as open enrollment to all students in the 2018-19 school year, bypassing requirements in economic levels and language skills for enrollment, according to Monitor archives.
The district was not able to open the program to full-day in 2018 due to funds and space constraints.
School districts must convert their half-day pre-K programs to full day starting the next school year, according to TEA. The Texas Education Agency has also offered waivers for those with half-day programs as transition may be difficult for some districts due to logistics or the limited timeframe, according to its website.
“This is going to be our baseline year to establish a baseline number of what we can expect for the years to come, because that’s something that we haven’t done in a good number of years,” Morrison said.
Breakfast, lunch and transportation are all provided for students enrolled into the program, Morrison said.
“We encourage their parents, all parents to come out and register their child early and we hope to be their school district of choice,” she said.