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Archive for Monday, February 5, 2001

Enhancements aimed at early childhood programs

February 5, 2001

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— Legislators are reviewing a number of proposals for enhancing early childhood education programs. Here are some of the programs and requests.

Parents as Teachers

It serves 13,000 families and 16,000 students from birth through age 2, with an estimated 3,500 children on waiting lists. State aid for the program is $6.2 million, with school districts contributing $4 million.

The Kansas State Board of Education requests a $14.7 million increase and adding 5,000 children to the program. An interim committee recommended allowing 3-year-olds to participate.

Kindergarten

The state board requests $52.5 million to count students in all-day kindergarten programs as full-time students. Actual costs would depend on how many districts offer the program and how many parents use it.

Early Childhood Special Ed

It serves more than 7,300 children age 3 to 5. The governor recommends increasing special-education funding by $8 million and changing the state aid formula to distribute the money on a per-pupil basis, instead of per-teacher basis. The number of children served would not change.

4-Year-Old At-Risk

It serves more than 2,200 students who meet Kansas State Board of Education criteria. Programs are awarded through a competitive grant process.

The state board requests funding to serve all children not in the federal Head Start program, an additional 3,500 students at a cost of $7.5 million. Gov. Bill Graves recommends adding $1 million to the program, or about 436 students.

'Part H' Special Education

The program serves more than 2,100 infants and toddlers, from birth through age 2, who qualify, because of special needs, through the Department of Health and Environment. Some legislators suggest shifting the program to the Department of Education.

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