Education Celebrations: Preregister your child for next school year
By Diane Boyett
March 9, 2014 at 10:02 p.m.
Updated March 8, 2014 at 9:09 p.m.
While schools are officially closed, work continues across the district to provide excellence in education for every child in every classroom every day.
We are also celebrating opportunities.
Next week, we start our annual preregistration effort. Elementary campuses will be contacting the parents of all current students to start the process of planning for the upcoming school year.
We are also reaching out into the community to get a better picture of how many new students to expect in August.
Of course, the most difficult grade levels to estimate are pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. We would ask that anyone who knows of a child who may be starting school for the first time next year to get in touch with his or her neighborhood school for preregistration information.
Students who enroll in pre-kindergarten have to meet one or more qualifying standards to be eligible. The most common standard is based on family income, but there are other ways to qualify, including being of limited English proficiency, being homeless, being the child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States or a child of a member of the armed forces of the United States who was injured or killed while serving on active duty. A child who is or has ever been in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services is also considered eligible. Pre-K children must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1.
There is a move across the nation to make pre-kindergarten accessible to all children, regardless of whether they meet the current guidelines. In some communities, there are efforts underway to expand eligibility for pre-K.
San Antonio is preparing to open two more pre-K centers as part of a voter-approved initiative that uses a fraction of a cent on sales taxes that already resulted in two centers opening for this school year.
You may have seen an article in the Advocate last week that offered pros and cons of using city funds for universal (in other words, open to all) pre-K. It should be noted that Victoria ISD is not making a similar sales or city tax proposal for our community.
As was reported in the article, funding for pre-K provided by the state is half that of a student in kindergarten through grade 12. This is referred to as half-day funding. Indeed, some school districts cut their pre-K programs to half days in response to budget cuts several years ago. Victoria ISD, seeing the value of the pre-K program, opted to direct selected federal funds to support maintaining the full-day program.
The remainder of the funding has been generated through local means. That equates to almost $1 million on the local level.
What our school district and many others around the state have done is continued efforts to have the Legislature address pre-K as a valuable program and fund it at a rate of the other grade levels. This would allow other funds locally to be used to expand opportunities for pre-K.
Diane Boyett is the communications director for Victoria school district. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.