Prekindergarten: Qualifications, Documentation & PEIMS Coding
Prekindergarten programs are different and more complex than the other grade levels offered in your district. To receive ADA funding for the students in your PK program there are specific age requirements and qualification criteria that must be met. Once you register a student for your PK program, they become subject to compulsory attendance until they withdraw from your district. The good news is that if you ensure that your PK student’s qualify by meeting at least one of the state defined PK qualifications and are three of four years of age before September 1st then your district is eligible to receive ½ day funding for these students. All PK students, regardless of if you offer a full day or ½ day PK, should be coded with an ADA eligibility code 2.
How can a student qualify for PK?
A student must be at least three or four years of age on or before September 1st AND qualify for at least one of the following criteria:
- The student is unable to speak and comprehend the English language (Emergent Bilingual)
- The student is considered economically disadvantaged, which means a student eligible to participate in the national free or reduced-price lunch program
- The student is homeless
- The student is a child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States or is a child of an active duty armed forces member who was injured or killed during service.
- The student is in, or has been in, the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) in Texas.
- The student’s parent is eligible for the Star of Texas Award
- A four-year-old can be eligible for PK if the student was eligible as a three-year old and was enrolled and attending the PK program in the prior school year- even if they do not meet the eligibility requirements this year.
Once a student has been determined to be eligible for PK, that student will remain eligible for the remainder of that school year, regardless of a change in status that may then disqualify them meeting one or more of the criteria above.
What documentation is required?
A district must verify a student’s age and eligibility for PK in order to receive ½ day ADA funding for each student. Verification documentation must be retained for audit purposes. The following is the recommended documentation required to support each PK qualification criteria.
Age (1 of the following)
- birth certificate
- statement of the child’s date of birth issued by the division of the Texas Department of State Health Services responsible for vital statistics for school admission purposes
- school ID card, records, or report card
- military ID
- hospital birth record
- adoption records
- church baptismal record
- any other legal document that establishes identity and age
- The student’s Home Language Survey
- The student’s official score results on an approved oral language proficiency test
- Documentation from the LPAC committee identifying the students as an English Language Learner.
- Verification by district personnel that the student qualifies for the National School Lunch Program based on family income OR is considered automatically eligible for the NSLP.
Acceptable documentation for earnings (wages and salary) may include:
- Current paycheck stub
- Current pay envelope
- Letter from employer stating gross wages paid and how often they are paid
- Unemployment, Worker’s Compensation, or Disability payment stub
Acceptable documentation for self-employment income may include:
- Business or farming documents, such as ledger books or self-issued paycheck stub
- Last year’s tax return (Self-employment)
Acceptable documentation for cash income could be a letter from the employer stating wages paid and frequency.
- A completed and verified Student Residency Questionnaire that district personnel have determined fits the criteria for homelessness as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302 and 42 U.S.C. Section 11434(a). (Refer to “FAQs” for definition of “homeless”)
- Documentation that a district employee verified the student’s US Department of Defense (DoD) photo identification for children of active duty service members.Your district should not make a copy of DoD identification!
- A statement of service from the installation adjutant general director of human resources
- A copy of the death certificate using the service-appropriate DoD form
- A copy of Purple Heart orders or citation
- A copy of the line of duty determination documentation. If this documentation is not available, a copy of an official letter from a commander that states that the service member was wounded or injured while on active duty is acceptable. A copy of a letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs indicating that the service member is eligible for disability compensation is also acceptable.
Department of Family and Protective Services
- Verification letter of prekindergarten eligibility. This letter should be sent by DFPS to the parent or caregiver of students who qualify because they are, or ever have been, in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services following an adversary hearing, as provided by Section 262.201, Family Code.
For assistance in obtaining this letter, please contact the DFPS Education Specialist in your area for assistance or for a description of other forms of proof of eligibility. You can find more information regarding a DFPS Education Specialists at https://tea.texas.gov/FosterCareStudentSuccess/CPS/
Star of Texas Award
- A letter from the Star of Texas Award recipient’s local representative.
All past honorees are listed on the Criminal Justice Divisions- Past Honorees webpage that can be found at https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/organization/criminal-justice/PastStarOfTexasAwards.pdf
Prior Year Eligible 3-Year-Old PK Student
- The qualifying documents from the student’s PK-3 school year.
Once you have the documentation in order to support the decision that a student meets both the age AND 1 or more of the qualification criteria, you can accept the student into your PK program and code with an ADA eligibility code 2, eligible for ½ day funding. It is within your district’s rights to open your PK program to students that do not qualify for PK based on the state defined criteria. In this situation, you would need to code them the non-qualified students with an eligibility code 5, ineligible ½ day and you would not receive any funding from the state for these students. For more information regarding PK programs please refer to the Student Attendance Accounting Handbook that can be found at Student Attendance Accounting Handbook | Texas Education Agency