Nebraska Revised Statute 79-1103

Chapter 79 Section 1103

79-1103.

Early Childhood Education Grant Program; established; administration; priorities; programs; requirements; report; hearing; endowment agreement; effect.

(1)(a) The State Department of Education shall establish and administer the Early Childhood Education Grant Program. Upon the effective date of an endowment agreement, administration of the Early Childhood Education Grant Program with respect to programs for children from birth to age three shall transfer to the board of trustees. If there is no endowment agreement in effect, the department shall request proposals in accordance with this section for all early childhood education programs from school districts, individually or in cooperation with other school districts or educational service units, working in cooperation with existing nonpublic programs which meet the requirements of subsection (2) of section 79-1104. If there is an endowment agreement in effect, the board of trustees shall administer the Early Childhood Education Grant Program with respect to programs for children from birth to age three pursuant to section 79-1104.02 and the department shall continue to administer the Early Childhood Education Grant Program with respect to other prekindergarten programs pursuant to sections 79-1101 to 79-1104.05. All administrative procedures of the board of trustees, including, but not limited to, rules, grant applications, and funding mechanisms, shall harmonize with those established by the department for other prekindergarten programs.

(b) The first priority shall be for (i) continuation grants for programs that received grants in the prior school fiscal year and for which the state aid calculation pursuant to the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act does not include early childhood education students, in an amount equal to the amount of such grant, except that if the grant was a first-year grant the amount shall be reduced by thirty-three percent, (ii) continuation grants for programs for which the state aid calculation pursuant to the act includes early childhood education students, in an amount equal to the amount of the grant for the school fiscal year prior to the first school fiscal year for which early childhood education students were included in the state aid calculation for the school district's local system minus the calculated state aid amount, and (iii) for school fiscal year 2007-08, continuation grants for programs for which the state aid calculation pursuant to the act includes early childhood education students, but such state aid calculation does not result in the school district receiving any equalization aid, in an amount equal to the amount of the grant received in school fiscal year 2006-07. The calculated state aid amount shall be calculated by multiplying the basic funding per formula student for the school district by the formula students attributed to the early childhood education programs pursuant to the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act.

(c) The second priority shall be for new grants and expansion grants for programs that will serve at-risk children who will be eligible to attend kindergarten the following school year. New grants may be given for up to three years in an amount up to one-half of the total budget of the program per year. Expansion grants may be given for one year in an amount up to one-half of the budget for expanding the capacity of the program to serve additional children.

(d) The third priority shall be for new grants, expansion grants, and continuation grants for programs serving children younger than those who will be eligible to attend kindergarten the following school year. New grants may be given for up to three years in an amount up to one-half the total budget of the program per year. Expansion grants may be given for one year in an amount up to one-half the budget for expanding the capacity of the program to serve additional children. Continuation grants under this priority may be given annually in an amount up to one-half the total budget of the program per year minus any continuation grants received under the first priority.

(e) Programs serving children who will be eligible to attend kindergarten the following school year shall be accounted for separately for grant purposes from programs serving younger children, but the two types of programs may be combined within the same classroom to serve multi-age children. Programs that receive grants for school fiscal years prior to school fiscal year 2005-06 to serve both children who will be eligible to attend kindergarten the following school year and younger children shall account for the two types of programs separately for grant purposes beginning with school year 2005-06 and shall be deemed to have received grants prior to school fiscal year 2005-06 for each year that grants were received for the types of programs representing the age groups of the children served.

(2) Each program proposal which is approved by the department shall include (a) a planning period, (b) an agreement to participate in periodic evaluations of the program to be specified by the department, (c) evidence that the program will be coordinated or contracted with existing programs, including those listed in subdivision (d) of this subsection and nonpublic programs which meet the requirements of subsection (2) of section 79-1104, (d) a plan to coordinate and use a combination of local, state, and federal funding sources, including, but not limited to, programs for children with disabilities below five years of age funded through the Special Education Act, the Early Intervention Act, funds available through the flexible funding provisions under the Special Education Act, the federal Head Start program, 42 U.S.C. 9831 et seq., the federal Even Start Family Literacy Program, 20 U.S.C. 6361 et seq., Title I of the federal Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq., and child care assistance through the Department of Health and Human Services, (e) a plan to use sliding fee scales and the funding sources included in subdivision (d) of this subsection to maximize the participation of economically and categorically diverse groups and to ensure that participating children and families have access to comprehensive services, (f) the establishment of an advisory body which includes families and community members, (g) the utilization of appropriately qualified staff, (h) an appropriate child-to-staff ratio, (i) appropriate group size, (j) compliance with minimum health and safety standards, (k) appropriate facility size and equipment, (l) a strong family development and support component recognizing the central role of parents in their children's development, (m) developmentally and culturally appropriate curriculum, practices, and assessment, (n) sensitivity to the economic and logistical needs and circumstances of families in the provision of services, (o) integration of children of diverse social and economic characteristics, (p) a sound evaluation component, including at least one objective measure of child performance and progress, (q) continuity with programs in kindergarten and elementary grades, (r) instructional hours that are similar to or less than the instructional hours for kindergarten except that a summer session may be offered, (s) well-defined language development and early literacy emphasis, including the involvement of parents in family literacy activities, (t) a plan for ongoing professional development of staff, and (u) inclusion of children with disabilities as defined in the Special Education Act, all as specified by rules and regulations of the department in accordance with sound early childhood educational practice.

(3) The department shall make an effort to fund programs widely distributed across the state in both rural and urban areas.

(4) The department, in collaboration with the board of trustees if an endowment agreement is in effect, shall provide a report evaluating the programs to the State Board of Education and the Legislature by January 1 of each odd-numbered year. The report submitted to the Legislature shall be submitted electronically. The Education Committee of the Legislature shall hold a public hearing regarding the report. Up to five percent of the total appropriation for the Early Childhood Education Grant Program for grants administered by the department may be reserved by the department for evaluation and technical assistance for the programs.

(5) Early childhood education programs, whether established pursuant to this section or section 79-1104, may be approved for purposes of the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act, expansion grants, and continuation grants on the submission of a continuation plan demonstrating that the program will meet the requirements of subsection (2) of this section and a proposed operating budget demonstrating that the program will receive resources from other sources equal to or greater than the sum of any grant received pursuant to this section for the prior school year plus any calculated state aid as calculated pursuant to subsection (1) of this section for the prior school year.

(6) The State Board of Education may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to implement the Early Childhood Education Grant Program, except that if there is an endowment agreement in effect, the board of trustees shall recommend any rules and regulations relating specifically to the Early Childhood Education Grant Program with respect to programs for children from birth to age three. It is the intent of the Legislature that the rules and regulations for programs for children from birth to age three be consistent to the greatest extent possible with those established for other prekindergarten programs.

Source

Cross References

  • Early Intervention Act, see section 43-2501.
  • Special Education Act, see section 79-1110.
  • Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act, see section 79-1001.