Management Bulletin 21-04
Early Learning and Care Division
Subject: California State Preschool Program Free or Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility Criteria to Enroll Four-Year-Old Children - REVISED
Date: February 2021
Expires: Until Rescinded or Superseded by the Adoption of Regulations
Authority: Senate Bill 75 (Chapter 51, Statutes of 2019), California Education Code Sections 8236.3 and 8263
Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors for California State Preschool Programs
NOTE: This management bulletin (MB) rescinds and replaces MB 20-01 and includes a revised implementation guidance document. All directives and guidance found in this MB supersede the guidance found in MB 20-01. All new text is bold and italicized to indicate the changes.
The purpose of this revised Management Bulletin (MB) is to provide guidance and instructions to California State Preschool Program (CSPP) contractors about implementing new eligibility criteria to allow the enrollment of four-year-old children pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 8236.3. Starting on January 1, 2020, a CSPP provider operating within the attendance boundary of a public elementary school, except a charter or magnet school, where at least 80 percent of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals (FRPM) may enroll four-year-old children under specific conditions as described below and in the attached revised CSPP FRPM Eligibility and Enrollment Implementation Guidance (CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance) (Attachment A).
This MB includes the following:
- CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A) - Revised
- Accessible, Section 508 Compliant Version: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguide508.docx
- Non-Section 508 Compliant Version: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguidance.docx
- List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools (Attachment B) https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/publicelementaryschools.xlsx
- Verification Form for CSPP Contractors (Attachment C) https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/frpmsiteverificationform.pdf
Further, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its unique impact on CSPP children in the midst of transitioning to transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten (K) programs, this MB provides guidance to CSPP contractors for serving TK- and K- age eligible children during the 2020-21 program year.
Background and Authority
In 2009, the Legislature directed the CDE to consolidate funding and program requirements for the five largest center-based programs providing services into one CSPP contract serving eligible three- and four-year-old children. Part-day and full-day CSPPs are governed by EC sections 8235–8239.1 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) commencing with Section 18000. The EC Section 8208(aj) defines CSPP-eligible four-year-old children as those children who will have their fourth birthday on or before December 1 of the fiscal year in which they are enrolled in a CSPP.
Eligibility criteria for part-day CSPP are set forth in EC Section 8235. This section provides that families must be “eligible” for services pursuant to EC Section 8263(a)(1)(A), but do not have to meet “need” criteria pursuant to EC Section 8263(a)(1)(B). The EC Section 8235 further permits contractors to enroll children from families not otherwise eligible for part-day services after all otherwise eligible children have been enrolled. These children include the following:
- Children whose families have adjusted monthly incomes that are no more than 15 percent over the 85 percent of the state median income threshold, limited to 10 percent of total contract enrollment
- Children with exceptional needs without regard to a family’s income
Eligibility criteria for full-day CSPP are set forth in EC Section 8263 and require a family to meet both “eligibility” and “need” criteria pursuant to EC sections 8263(a)(1)(A) and (B). The Budget Act of 2019, Senate Bill (SB) 75, amended EC Section 8263 to allow full day CSPP contractors to now enroll three- and four-year-old children whose families do not meet a “need” criteria pursuant to EC Section 8263(a)(1)(B) after all other CSPP-eligible families have been enrolled.
Enrollment priorities for both full-day and part-day CSPP are set forth in EC Section 8236 and 5 CCR 18133.
The SB 75 also added EC Section 8236.3 which made the following changes to eligibility and enrollment priorities for CSPP programs:
- Allows for the CSPP contracted sites operating within the attendance boundary of a public elementary school, except charter and magnet schools, where at least 80 percent of enrolled students are eligible for FRPM to enroll CSPP four-year-old children whose families reside within the school boundaries of a qualified FRPM school.
- Sets CSPP-eligibility and enrollment priorities for families residing within the school boundaries of a qualified FRPM school.
The SB 75 authorizes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to provide guidance and instruction to implement this provision through an MB on or before December 1, 2019. In addition to initiating the regulatory process, the SSPI must convene a workgroup of specified stakeholders to develop recommendations regarding the implementation of the provisions. The SSPI must initiate a regulatory process no later than December 31, 2020.
Due to COVID-19, CSPP contractors have requested that TK- and K-age children be permitted to continue to be served in CSPP for the remainder of this fiscal year due to limited options for in-person TK and K.
In light of the legislative goal to provide continuity of care to children and the unusual obstacles public schools are currently facing to providing in-person TK and K to children, the CDE has amended this guidance to allow currently enrolled TK- and K-age eligible children to be served in part-day and full-day CSPP for the remainder of the 2020-21 program year, in the situations specified in the directive.
This guidance is effective immediately and will remain in place until regulations are adopted through the formal rulemaking process. In the interim, contractors should review their policies and procedures to ensure that they do not conflict with this MB and the revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A).
Effective January 1, 2020, a CSPP contractor shall follow the revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A) included in the MB when enrolling families in a CSPP. The revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance provides guidance for both CSPP FRPM and CSPP non-FRPM enrollment.
During the 2020-21 program year only, TK- and K- age eligible children may remain enrolled in the CSPP if specific conditions are met. Additional detailed information about these specific conditions can be found in sections 18130.5 and 18130.6 of the CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A).
Beginning July 1, 2021, contractors must follow the age eligibility requirements for CSPP per EC Section 8208. The age eligibility requirements are as listed below:
- The EC Section 8208(ai) defines CSPP-eligible three-year-old children as those who will have their third birthday on or before December 1 of the fiscal year in which they are enrolled in a California state preschool program. Children who have their third birthday on or after December 2 of the fiscal year, may be enrolled in a California state preschool program on or after their third birthday. Any child under four years of age shall be served in a California state preschool program facility, licensed in accordance with Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations.
- The EC Section 8208(aj) defines CSPP-eligible four-year-old children as those who will have their fourth birthday on or before December 1 of the fiscal year in which they are enrolled in a CSPP.
- Please note that children who will turn five-years-old between September 2 and December 1 of the fiscal year are no longer age eligible for the CSPP.
Eligibility and Enrollment Priorities
For instructions on prioritizing and enrolling families, CSPP contractors shall comply with directives provided in the revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A). The accessible, Section 508 compliant version of this document is located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguide508.docx and the non-Section 508 compliant version is located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguidance.docx.
- The revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance provides necessary clarification on eligibility and enrollment priorities applicable to all CSPP contractors as described in the background above.
- Incorporates the special eligibility and enrollment priorities applicable to CSPP-FRPM sites.
Identification of Qualifying FRPM Schools and School Boundaries
For a CSPP contractor to operate a CSPP program pursuant to the new FRPM eligibility and enrollment provisions, CSPP contractors must verify to the CDE that the CSPP site is within an FRPM school boundary, and, when enrolling families under these special provisions, must certify that the family resides with the FRPM school boundary.
To determine whether a site sits within an FRPM boundary area, CSPP contractors will need to know the school boundaries for a particular site; each public elementary school should have information regarding their boundaries at their school or district office and contractors should contact their school or district to obtain public elementary school boundary information. To determine whether a school boundary area meets the 80 percent FRPM enrollment threshold, CSPP contractors can consult the attached List of Eligible Public Elementary Schools (Attachment B) [https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/publicelementaryschools.xlsx] which identifies schools, by county, that meet the 80 percent FRPM enrollment threshold.
CSPP-FRPM Site Verification
Prior to enrolling families under the FRPM requirement, the CSPP contractor must verify with the CDE that the CSPP site where it plans to enroll children under this special enrollment provision is located within the FRPM school attendance boundaries. To ensure compliance with the statute, contractors must complete and submit to the CDE a Verification Form for CSPP Contractors (Attachment C) [https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/frpmsiteverificationform.pdf] signed by a school principal or other authorized representative of the school.
CSPP-FRPM Residency Documentation
A family being certified as FRPM residency eligible must, at the time of enrollment, show proof of residency in accordance with provisions included in the attached CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A). The accessible, Section 508 compliant version of this document is located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguide508.docx and the non-Section 508 compliant version is located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/revisedcsppfrpmguidance.docx.
CSPP Recertification for Program Year 2020-21 Only – Changes due to COVID-19
During the 2020-21 program year TK- and K-age children currently enrolled may remain in CSPP when specific conditions are met. Additional detailed information about CSPP recertification and serving TK- and K-age children can be found in sections 18130.5 and 18130.6 of the revised CSPP FRPM Implementation Guidance (Attachment A).
Recertification for full-day CSPP should occur in alignment with the 12-Month Eligibility Implementation Guidance in MB 17-14.
CDE Reporting Updates
The CDE Child Development Management Information System (CDMIS) support staff will be adding a new option to the “Reason for Receiving Child Care” field to indicate that a child is a CSPP FRPM eligible four-year-old. After the new option has been added, a CSPP FRPM contractor can learn how to report its CSPP FRPM eligible four-year-old children by visiting the CDE “Child Care Reporting--Service Reason” web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/ReasonforReceiving.asp or by emailing CDMIS support staff at CDMIS@cde.ca.gov.
The Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services (CDNFS) 8501 or CDNFS 8501MHCS report forms will remain unchanged. Contractors who enroll children in a CSPP on the basis of FRPM eligibility will report the days of enrollment in the appropriate adjustment factor categories for certified children. If you have any questions related to the reporting of the child days of enrollment, please contact your assigned CDNFS Fiscal Analyst. The CDE Fiscal Apportionment Analyst Directory web page can be found at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/faad.asp.
If you have questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your Early Learning and Care Field Services Consultant at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp or by phone at 916-322-6233.
Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division