Frisco ISD aims to expand from a half-day to a full-day Pre-Kindergarten program as early as fall of 2020.
During the August regular Board meeting, District administrators presented Frisco ISD’s preliminary plans to address the new legislative requirement to offer a full-day Pre-K program. In addition to reforming the school finance system, House Bill 3 requires that school districts offer a full-day program to all eligible students. Several factors contribute to the eligibility for Pre-K, including whether the student is the child of an active-duty military member, is economically disadvantaged, has difficulty comprehending the English language and more.
The cost of the expansion is not fully funded through the legislation. The state will continue to allocate funding based on half of the average daily student attendance in Pre-K. Frisco ISD will use a new Early Education Allotment aimed at improving early reading and math proficiency by the third grade as a supplement.
While the bill is effective for the 2019-20 school year, districts have the opportunity to seek waivers in order to better prepare for the expansion. Before submitting a waiver request, Frisco ISD plans to consider private partnerships to find the best way to implement a full-day program.
Pam Orr, director of special programs, explained that a commitment to student-centered decisions will guide the process moving forward.
“We want to be thoughtful, and we want to be collaborative, so we can make the most efficient and effective decisions,” Orr said. “The District is committed to maintaining the fidelity and quality of our current Pre-K programming.”
Orr shared that all decisions will be based on collaborative efforts, and the strategic planning team will be intentional about speaking to stakeholders, leveraging their input and skill sets to make the best decision possible for the expansion.
Frisco ISD estimates that just above 40% of the eligible population is currently taking advantage of Pre-K services. Survey results from spring 2019 show that 30% of the eligible population who opted out of Pre-K for the 2017-18 school year did so because it was a half-day program and not full-day. Another 30% opted out because their children were enrolled in full-day private programs and may have been more likely to take advantage of Frisco ISD’s Pre-K program had it been full-day.
The current half-day program has almost 500 students enrolled, and it is expected that enrollment could increase by up to 500 more students. The District established an interdepartmental working group to monitor enrollment trends and distribute a community-wide survey to gauge parent interest in a full-day program.
Learn more about the District’s current Pre-K program on the Frisco ISD Pre-Kindergarten website.