SB 453-FN-A-LOCAL - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2022 SESSION

22-3095

10/04

 

SENATE BILL 453-FN-A-LOCAL

 

AN ACT relative to statewide pre-kindergarten funding.

 

SPONSORS: Sen. Sherman, Dist 24

 

COMMITTEE: Education

 

─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────

 

ANALYSIS

 

This bill establishes the requirement for school districts to provide pre-kindergarten (pre-K) education to pupils in the district and for state funding of the cost of pre-K education programs.

 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

22-3095

10/04

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Two

 

AN ACT relative to statewide pre-kindergarten funding.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  State Board of Education; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 186:6-a to read as follows:

186:6-a  Limitation of Education.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the authority of the state department of education shall be limited to the problems associated with pre-kindergarten (pre-K), kindergarten, and grades one through 12[, provided, however, that the state board of education shall be authorized to accept, distribute and supervise funds for pre-kindergarten programs].

2  Definition; Average Daily Membership in Attendance.  Amend RSA 189:1-d, III to read as follows:

III.  "Average daily membership in attendance" means the aggregate half-day membership of pupils attending schools operated by a school district divided by the number of half-days of instruction offered.  The average daily membership in attendance for preschool, pre-K, and kindergarten pupils shall be divided by the number of instructional days offered to higher-level elementary grades.

3  Elementary School; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 189:25 to read as follows:

189:25  Elementary School.  An elementary school is any school approved by the state board of education in which the subjects taught are those prescribed by the state board for the grades pre-K, kindergarten, and one through 8 of the public schools.  However, a separate organization consisting of grades 7 through 9, or any grouping of these grades, may be recognized as a junior high school and so approved by the board.  Also a separate organization consisting of grades 4 through 8 or any grouping of these grades may be recognized as a middle school and so approved by the state board.  Any elementary school may include a pre-K and kindergarten program which, if it is provided, shall precede the other elementary grades.

4  School Districts; Pre-K Education Program.  Amend RSA 189 by inserting after section 25-a the following new section:

189:25-b  Pre-K Education Program.  All children who are at least 4 years of age but not more than 5 years of age on or before September 1 and who have not attended a public school kindergarten shall be entitled to attend half-day or full-day pre-K programs at any public school in the state where such programs are offered; provided no child shall be required to attend any pre-K education program.  The following paragraphs shall govern pre-K programs:

I.  Children who are at least 4 years of age but not more than 5 years of age on or before September 1 shall be entitled to attend either half-day or full-day pre-K programs in their district of residence free of charge as long as the district has the physical facilities and teaching personnel to accommodate the child.  For purposes of calculation of grants under RSA 198, children in a pre-K education program shall be included in the average daily membership in residence of the district providing the program.

II.  A child who has not reached the age of 5 years on or before September 1 and who resides in a district which does not offer a pre-K program shall be eligible for transfer to a district where an early childhood program is offered if the district that offers the pre-K program agrees to the transfer.  A district offering pre-K programs may refuse to accept a nonresident child if the district does not have the physical facilities or teaching personnel to accommodate the child in a pre-K education class.  If the child requesting the transfer has not reached the age of 4 years on or before September 1, the district may refuse to accept the nonresident child if the district determines the child is not ready for a pre-K program.  Children who are accepted in a program outside their district of residence as provided in this paragraph shall be included in the average daily membership in attendance of the district providing the program for funding of grants under RSA 198.

III.  School districts shall not be required to provide transportation to pre-K pupils under RSA 189:6 or RSA 189:9.  Transportation of pre-K pupils shall be the responsibility of the pupil's parent or guardian.

5  Educational Content of an Adequate Education; Pre-K.  Amend RSA 193-E:2-a, II and II-a to read as follows:

II.  The standards shall cover pre-K, kindergarten, and first through twelfth grade and shall clearly set forth the opportunities to acquire the communication, analytical and research skills and competencies, as well as the substantive knowledge expected to be possessed by students at the various grade levels, including the credit requirement necessary to earn a high school diploma.

II-a.  Instruction in support of pre-K and kindergarten standards shall be engaging and shall foster children's development and learning in all domains including physical, social, cognitive, and language.  Educators shall create a learning environment that facilitates high quality, child-directed experiences based upon early childhood best teaching practices and play-based learning that comprise movement, creative expression, exploration, socialization, and music.  Educators shall develop literacy through guided reading and shall provide unstructured time for the discovery of each child's individual talents, abilities, and needs.

6  Chartered Public Schools; Definitions; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 194-B:1, I and II to read as follows:

I.  "Average cost per pupil" means the total of education expenditures in a particular district and at the elementary, middle/junior, and high school levels, less tuition, transportation, capital outlays, and net debt service, as compiled by the department of education.  Pre-K and kindergarten cost shall be calculated at 1/2 the cost of elementary school.

II.  "Average daily membership in attendance" or "ADMA" relative to chartered public schools means the average daily membership in attendance, as defined in RSA 189:1-d, III, of pupils in pre-K, kindergarten, and grade one through grade 12, in the determination year, provided that no pre-K or kindergarten pupil shall count as more than 1/2 day attendance per school year.  ADMA shall only include pupils who are legal residents of New Hampshire pursuant to RSA 193:12 and educated at the charter school's expense.  In this paragraph, "determination year" shall have the same meaning as in RSA 198:38, IV.

7  Cooperative School Districts; Definitions; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 195:1, II to read as follows:

II.  "Elementary school" shall mean all grades from [the] pre-K, kindergarten, or grade one through grade 6, or pre-K, kindergarten, or grade one through grade 8.

8  Area Schools; Definition; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 195-A:1, II to read as follows:

II.  "Elementary school" shall mean a program comprising all grades from [the] pre-K, kindergarten, or grade one through grade 6, or pre-K, kindergarten, or grade one through grade 8.

9  School Building Aid Grants.  Amend RSA 198:15-a, III to read as follows:

III.  Facilities constructed using school building aid grants shall be used as instructional facilities for pre-K and kindergarten through grade 12 for at least 20 years.  A school district that discontinues the use of the facilities within 20 years shall be required to repay the state 100 percent of the state grant received.  Upon a showing of good cause by the school district, the commissioner of the department of education may waive this penalty in whole or part on a case by case basis.

10  Kindergarten Construction Program; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 198:15-r to read as follows:

198:15-r  Pre-K and Kindergarten Construction Program Established.

I.  There is established in the department of education a pre-K and kindergarten construction program to provide certain construction grants which shall be available to eligible school districts that currently do not operate a public pre-K and kindergarten program.  These grants shall be available until all school districts in the state operate a pre-K and kindergarten program within an approved public school.  Such eligible districts shall receive, at their election, either:

(a)  A construction grant to cover 75 percent of the actual cost of construction of pre-K and kindergarten facilities, exclusive of site acquisition and core facilities; or

(b)  A construction grant to cover 100 percent of the actual cost of the design and construction of a basic code compliant pre-K and kindergarten facility, but shall not include site acquisition and core facilities.  In this subparagraph, "basic code compliant pre-K and kindergarten facility" means a new building or an addition to an existing building that the commissioner of the department of education determines satisfies the minimum standards for school approval for a pre-K and kindergarten program and all applicable building code standards.  The commissioner shall establish specifications pursuant RSA 198:15-s, IV for such a basic code compliant facility.

II.  A school district that displaces pupils from an existing classroom space in order to use such space to provide a pre-K and kindergarten program shall be eligible for a construction grant under subparagraphs I(a) or (b) to cover the costs incurred in constructing or renovating new classroom space for the displaced pupils.

III.  Grants under subparagraphs I(a) or (b) shall also cover the cost of initial furniture, fixtures, and equipment needed to operate a pre-K and kindergarten program.

IV.  [Repealed.]

V.  A school district may contract with another school district to provide a public pre-K and kindergarten program that meets or exceeds the minimum standards for school approval as adopted by the department of education.

VI.  The provisions of RSA 32:8 and RSA 32:11 shall not apply to costs incurred by a school district under this section.

VII.  Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit the inclusion of the site and related facilities that are not eligible for funding by the state under this subdivision as part of pre-K and kindergarten construction costs from being included in a regular building aid funding request as provided in RSA 198:15-b.  However, no school district which receives any funding under this subdivision shall be eligible to receive school building aid under RSA 198:15-b for the same project.

VIII.  Pre-K and Kindergarten facilities constructed under this subdivision shall be the property of the school district or the city maintaining a school department.

IX.  A district shall not be deemed ineligible from receiving the full amount of a construction or transition grant for which it is otherwise eligible as a result of the district already expending funds for construction or transition costs related to providing a kindergarten program beginning in the 2008-2009 or 2009-2010 school years.

11  Education Trust Fund; Definition; Average Daily Membership in Attendance.  Amend RSA 198:38, I(a) to read as follows:

I.(a)  "Average daily membership in attendance" or "ADMA" means the average daily membership in attendance, as defined in RSA 189:1-d, III, of pupils in pre-K and kindergarten through grade 12, in the determination year.  ADMA shall only include pupils who are legal residents of New Hampshire pursuant to RSA 193:12 and educated at school district expense which may include public academies or out-of-district placements.  For the purpose of calculating funding for municipalities, the ADMA shall not include pupils attending chartered public schools, but shall include pupils attending a charter conversion school approved by the school district in which the pupil resides.

12  Education Trust Fund; Pupils Eligible for Free or Reduced-price Meals.  Amend RSA 198:38, VII to read as follows:

VII.  "Pupils eligible for a free or reduced-price meal" means the ADMA of pupils in pre-K and kindergarten through grade 12 who are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price meal program.  No pupil or school shall be required to participate in the federal free or reduced price meal program.

13  Education Trust Fund; Purpose; Pre-K Added.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 198:39, I to read as follows:

I.  The state treasurer shall establish an education trust fund in the treasury.  Moneys in such fund shall not be used for any purpose other than to distribute adequate education grants to municipalities' school districts and to approved charter schools pursuant to RSA 198:42, to provide low and moderate income homeowners property tax relief under RSA 198:56-198:61, to distribute school building aid to school districts and approved chartered public schools pursuant to RSA 198:15-b, to distribute tuition and transportation funds to school districts for students attending career and technical education programs pursuant to RSA 188-E:9, to distribute special education aid to school districts pursuant to RSA 186-C:18, to fund department of education operating costs for a state student data collection and reporting system, and to fund pre-K and kindergarten programs as may be determined by the general court.  The state treasurer shall deposit into this fund immediately upon receipt:

14  Alternative Kindergarten Programs; Grants; Pre-K Added.  Amend RSA 198:48-a and 48-b to read as follows:

198:48-a  Alternative Pre-K and Kindergarten Programs.

I.  A school district that currently does not operate a pre-K or kindergarten program within an approved public school maintained by the local district or currently does not contract with another established public pre-K and kindergarten program for the education of its resident pre-K or kindergarten pupils, may submit to the commissioner of the department of education a local plan for an alternative pre-K and kindergarten program based upon contractual arrangements with one or more nonpublic, non-sectarian schools or facilities.  An alternative pre-K and kindergarten program shall be:

(a)  Offered immediately preceding the other elementary grades.

(b)  Designed primarily for 5-year-olds.

(c)  Available at district expense to all pre-K and kindergarten-aged children who reside in the district.

II.  An alternative pre-K and kindergarten program shall satisfy the same criteria established for public pre-K and kindergarten programs in the New Hampshire standards for school approval.

III.  A local plan for an alternative pre-K and kindergarten program shall be approved by the school board.  A local plan for an alternative pre-K and kindergarten program shall be submitted to the commissioner of the department of education at times established by the commissioner.

IV.  A local plan shall contain the following information:

(a)  A description of the alternative pre-K and kindergarten program.

(b)  A list of the nonpublic, non-sectarian schools or facilities to be utilized.

(c)  Evidence that the alternative pre-K and kindergarten program satisfies the same criteria established for public pre-K and kindergarten programs in the New Hampshire minimum standards for the approval of schools.

(d)  Procedures for coordinating and articulating curriculum, instruction, and support services provided under the alternative pre-K and kindergarten program with curriculum, instruction, and support services provided in the other elementary grades.

(e)  An explanation of how kindergarten students will be transported to and from the schools or facilities to be utilized.

V.  The plan shall be reviewed by the department of education for compliance with statutory requirements.

VI.  If an approved alternative pre-K and kindergarten program utilizes more than one school or facility, the school board or the superintendent or other administrative officer designated by the school board may take into consideration parental preference when assigning students to schools or facilities.

VII.(a)  Upon the effective date of this paragraph, and for each fiscal year through June 30, 2003, an adequate education grant of $1,200 per pupil shall be distributed to school districts, from the education trust fund created in RSA 198:39, for the education of its resident kindergarten pupils enrolled in an approved alternative kindergarten program established under this section.

(b)  Once pupils enrolled in an approved alternative pre-K and kindergarten program have been counted in the average daily membership in residence, school districts shall receive, for each such pupil, an adequate education grant calculated in accordance with RSA 198:41 through RSA 198:42.

VIII.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, alternative kindergarten programs which were approved and in effect prior to April 29, 1999 may continue to operate and shall continue to receive per pupil adequate education grant amounts in accordance with RSA 198:41 through RSA 198:42.

198:48-b  Pre-K and Kindergarten Adequate Education Grants.  Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary:

I.  A school district which operates a full-day pre-K and kindergarten program in any school year in which the adequate education grant provided pursuant to RSA 198:42 does not include a count of the full-day pre-K and kindergarten students, shall receive an additional adequate education grant based on the number of pupils attending pre-K and kindergarten in the district as of the beginning of the school year.

II.  The per pupil amount of the additional education grant provided in this section shall be 50 percent of the amount distributed under RSA 198:40-a, II(a), based on the number of pupils enrolled and present on the first day of school in the current year in a full-day pre-K and kindergarten program in the district.  Once pupils enrolled in an approved pre-K and kindergarten program have been counted in the average daily membership, school districts shall receive, for each such pupil, an adequate education grant calculated in accordance with RSA 198:40-a, II.

III.  For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, and every fiscal year thereafter, the amount necessary to fund the grants under this section is hereby appropriated to the department from the education trust fund established in RSA 198:39.  If the balance in the education trust fund is less than zero, the governor is authorized to draw a warrant for sufficient funds to eliminate such deficit out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.  The commissioner of the department of administrative services shall inform the fiscal committee and the governor and council of such balance.  This reporting shall not in any way prohibit or delay the distribution of pre-K and kindergarten adequate education grants.

15  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2023.

 

LBA

22-3095

Revised 2/7/22

 

SB 453-FN-A-LOCAL- FISCAL NOTE

AS INTRODUCED

 

AN ACT relative to statewide pre-kindergarten funding.

 

FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [ X ] Local              [    ] None

 

 

 

Estimated Increase / (Decrease)

STATE:

FY 2022

FY 2023

FY 2024

FY 2025

   Appropriation

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Revenue

$0

$0

$0

$0

   Expenditures

$0

$227,000

See Methodology Below

See Methodology Below

Funding Source:

  [ X ] General            [ X ] Education            [   ] Highway           [    ] Other

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL:

 

 

 

 

   Revenue

$0

$0

See Methodology Below

See Methodology Below

   Expenditures

$0

$0

$0

$0

 

METHODOLOGY:

This bill, effective July 1, 2023, would add pre-kindergarten (“pre-K”) as a requirement for school districts, and provide state funding for pre-K programs. The Department of Education (Department) states in adding pre-K to the definition of an approved elementary school, it would need to include pre-K and its associated required standards as part of the state school approval process.  The state school approval process is defined by state regulation Ed 306 (administrative rules), under the minimum standards for the operation of public schools.  There are currently no educational standards applied to any pre-k programs, including independently operated early childhood learning centers licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  To include pre-k in the school approval process, the Department would need to define and adopt regulations and standards for the appropriate and safe operation of an early childhood learning program which defines, at a minimum, facility safety, health code requirements, staffing ratio requirements, and programmatic standards, likely utilizing current DHHS regulations as an example.  Using past examples of similar work, the Department states it would need to engage the services of a qualified contractor to work with them and DHHS, as well as school leaders and early childhood learning programs to develop appropriate regulations for the approval process and train Department staff in the use of these new regulations as part of the state school approval process. This includes the development of templates, forms, and site-visit protocols. The Department estimates a one-time general fund cost of $150,000 for a contractor in FY 2023.  The Department states it would also need to hire a full-time staff position (education consultant II, labor grade 27) to administer the new pre-k regulations, including oversight of the regulations, health and safety requirements, programmatic elements, site-visit requirements, and related approval criteria related to pre-k standards.  The Department assumes these position costs ($52,000 in FY 2023, $104,000 in FY 2024, and $107,000 in FY 2025) would be to the general fund (assuming a position start date of January 1, 2023, to allow for program “ramp-up”).

 

Since this bill is not effective until FY 2024, estimates on its impact to state adequate education grant payments to districts is indeterminable. However, the Department has provided an estimate below, based on the following data and assumptions:

 

  • To estimate average daily membership (ADM), FY 2021 pre-K ADM was added to the estimated K-12 ADM for FY 2023 (calculated on November 15, 2021).

 

  • The estimate is based on existing pre-k programs that are not funded through tuition. If any existing programs currently funded through tuition were to transfer to a public funded program, then this bill would make these programs eligible for pre-k start up grants at a rate of half of base adequacy based on the number of students present on the first day of school. As of October 1, 2021, 1,120 pre-k students attended a public school but paid tuition for pre-kindergarten programing. An indeterminable amount of these programs may opt to be publicly funded due to this bill, thereby increasing education trust fund expenditures.

 

  • A 2 percent consumer price index (CPI) adjustment was made to the base and differentiated aid amounts (current law requires a biennial CPI adjustment). All other calculations remained the same and consistent with the FY24 adequacy calculation based on current law.  

 

Based on the assumptions stated above, the Department estimates this bill could increase state education trust fund adequacy payments to districts by approximately $4.5 million per year, beginning in FY 2024. Furthermore, the Department states this bill will have an indeterminable impact on state payments to charter schools and education freedom accounts. The Department states this bill would create changes to its data collection, coding, reviewing, tracking, and processing procedures, which would necessitate the hiring of a part-time data/finance position. The Department estimates this position would be an expense of the general fund and cost $25,000 in FY 2023 and $50,000 in FY 2024 and FY 2025.

 

Below is a summary of this bill’s potential impacts:

Program/Cost

FY 2023

FY 2024

FY 2025

Education Trust Fund Expenditures

Local School District Adequacy

$0

Approximately $4.5 million increase in each year

Charter School Adequacy

$0

Indeterminable increase

(expected to be minimal)

Education Freedom Account

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Pre-K Start-up Grants

$0

Indeterminable Increase

Education Trust Fund Total

$0

Likely more than

$4.5 million per year

General Fund Expenditures

Contractor Accountability Cost

$150,000

$0

$0

Accountability Full-Time Position

$52,000

$104,000

$107,000

Data/Finance Part-time Position

$25,000

$50,000

$50,000

General Fund Total

$227,000

$154,000

$157,000

 

AGENCIES CONTACTED:

Department of Education