SB 95 – This act establishes the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program to provide an opportunity for each child, who has reached the age of three, to voluntarily enroll in a publicly-funded prekindergarten program. Children will remain eligible to enroll in the program until they enroll in kindergarten or attain the age of seven.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be responsible for implementing and overseeing the program. Private, for-profit, non-profit, and public schools may enroll children in their prekindergarten programs and receive public funds for doing so. The Department must establish standards that providers must meet in order to participate in the program. The department must also establish teacher-child ratios, class sizes, student learning standards, guidelines, and qualifications for teachers and staff, as described in the act.
The Department must begin implementing the program by November 30, 2013, and complete the phase-in of the program by July 1, 2018. The Department must establish the rate of payment or reimbursement for providers. The program is subject to appropriations.
The provisions of this act will sunset after six years unless reauthorized.