§ 16-99-4. Eligible school districts; funding.
(a) A school district shall be eligible to request funding pursuant to § 16-99-4(b), if:
(1) The school district is a public school district; and
(2) The school district operates a half-day kindergarten program as of September 1, 2012, but not a full-day kindergarten, as defined herein, serving more than one-half of the kindergarten students in the district as determined on a headcount basis.
(b) Subject to appropriation, beginning with school year 2013-2014 and through school year 2014-2015, the commissioner of elementary and secondary education shall rank and approve eligible public school districts that voluntarily implement a full-day kindergarten program as defined herein. The aforementioned school district shall receive funding to offset a portion of the reasonable, one-time start-up costs including, but not limited to, desks, books, facility upgrades, ancillary costs associated with relocation of students, costs associated with the development and implementation of new curriculum, and any other necessary expenses associated with each school's implementation of a full-day kindergarten program. Ranking shall be based upon criteria established by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education to ensure the quality and sustainability of the full-day kindergarten programs implemented.
In ranking the school districts' proposals, the commissioner shall consider the quality and sustainability of the program and the average number of children eligible for USDA reimbursable school meals served by the respective district's elementary schools with priority given to school districts with enrollment greater than eight thousand (8,000).
If no school district has enrollment greater than eight thousand (8,000), then priority shall be given to school districts with enrollment greater than four thousand (4,000).
(c) The commissioner shall fully fund all eligible expenditures of each district in rank order. If a district's proposal cannot be fully funded, the district may either accept the available funding for the project or refuse funding. If funding is refused, the commissioner shall fund the next eligible school district's request based on the aforementioned ranking.
(d) School districts receiving funds pursuant to this chapter must operate only a full-day program, no half-day programs. The full-day kindergarten program must continue to operate for five (5) years.
(e) All funding provided under this section is subject to appropriation.
(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (d), school districts that request funding pursuant to this chapter may be allowed to phase-in the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program, provided that the district provides the department of elementary and secondary education with a schedule and plan as to the implementation of such program.
(P.L. 2012, ch. 372, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 382, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 358, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 431, § 3; P.L. 2014, ch. 456, § 3; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 6, § 1.)