The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has received several questions about preschool funding and is clarifying that preschool funding was not cut by the General Assembly.
State preschool grant funding for school districts is calculated by the preschool funding formula, which has been in effect for several years under existing law.
702 KAR 3:250, which applies to the two educational programs established in KRS 157.226 and 157.3175 for children below primary school age, articulates the preschool grant allocation process. Under this regulation, which has been in place since 1992, KDE applies a negative adjustment, based on a decrease in enrollment for the current year, to the beginning of the next school year.
For example, a decrease in preschool enrollment in the current year (based on the difference in enrollment between Dec. 1, 2010 and Dec. 1, 2011) would negatively impact preschool grant funding for the next school year, which begins July 1, 2012.
The actual preschool formula works as follows:
- The Dec. 1 count from the previous year for each category (ATR, SPL, DD, SEV) is multiplied by the appropriate rate for initial allocation.
- Then, deduction of the negative adjustment from districts whose enrollments decreased more than 5 percent from the last two Dec. 1 counts occurs.
- Next, the supplemental three amounts for each district is added, using the previous year’s rates at 50 percent and 25 percent.
- Addition of the growth adjustment (if available) to districts whose enrollments increased more than 5 percent from the last two Dec. 1 counts occurs.
- The result is the district’s final allocation.
Based upon feedback from school districts, KDE already has committed to notifying school districts about tentative preschool grant allocations earlier in the spring of 2013. In addition, KDE will continue, as it did in this session, to work collaboratively to address the funding issue in coming legislative sessions, with the goal of making preschool funding based on the average number of identified children with disabilities on Dec. 1 and March 1 of the prior academic year to calculate preschool funding (and eliminate negative adjustment, growth adjustment and supplemental 3s).