2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XLVIII EARLY LEARNING-20 EDUCATION CODE
Chapter 1002 STUDENT AND PARENTAL RIGHTS AND EDUCATIONAL CHOICES
SECTION 53Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program; eligibility and enrollment.
1002.53 Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program; eligibility and enrollment.—
(1) The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program is created and shall be organized, designed, and delivered in accordance with s. 1(b) and (c), Art. IX of the State Constitution.
(2) Each child who resides in this state who will have attained the age of 4 years on or before September 1 of the school year is eligible for the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program during either that school year or the following school year. The child remains eligible until the child is admitted to kindergarten, or unless he or she will have attained the age of 6 years by February 1 of any school year under s. 1003.21(1)(a)1.
(3) The parent of each child eligible under subsection (2) may enroll the child in one of the following programs:
(a) A school-year prekindergarten program delivered by a private prekindergarten provider under s. 1002.55;
(b) A summer prekindergarten program delivered by a public school or private prekindergarten provider under s. 1002.61;
(c) A school-year prekindergarten program delivered by a public school; or
(d) A specialized instructional services program for children who have disabilities, if the child has been evaluated and determined as eligible, has a current individual educational plan developed by the local school board, and is eligible for the program under s. 1002.66.
Except as provided in s. 1002.71(4), a child may not enroll in more than one of these programs.
(4)(a) Each parent enrolling a child in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program must complete and submit an application to the early learning coalition through the single point of entry established under s. 1002.82.
(b) The application must be submitted on forms prescribed by the department and must be accompanied by a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. The forms must include a certification, in substantially the form provided in s. 1002.71(6)(b)2., that the parent chooses the private prekindergarten provider or public school in accordance with this section and directs that payments for the program be made to the provider or school. The department may authorize alternative methods for submitting proof of the child’s age in lieu of a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate.
(c) Each early learning coalition shall coordinate with each of the school districts within the coalition’s county or multicounty region in the development of procedures for enrolling children in prekindergarten programs delivered by public schools.
(5) The early learning coalition shall provide each parent enrolling a child in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program with a profile of every private prekindergarten provider and public school delivering the program within the county where the child is being enrolled. The profiles shall be provided to parents in a format prescribed by the department in accordance with s. 1002.92(3).
(6)(a) A parent may enroll his or her child with any private prekindergarten provider that is eligible to deliver the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program under this part; however, the provider may determine whether to admit any child. An early learning coalition may not limit the number of students admitted by any private prekindergarten provider for enrollment in the program. However, this paragraph does not authorize an early learning coalition to allow a provider to exceed any staff-to-children ratio, square footage per child, or other requirement imposed under ss. 402.301-402.319 as a result of admissions in the prekindergarten program.
(b) A parent may enroll his or her child with any public school within the school district which is eligible to deliver the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program under this part, subject to available space. Each school district may limit the number of students admitted by any public school for enrollment in the school-year program; however, the school district must provide for the admission of every eligible child within the district whose parent enrolls the child in a summer prekindergarten program delivered by a public school under s. 1002.61.
(c) Each private prekindergarten provider and public school must comply with the antidiscrimination requirements of 42 U.S.C. s. 2000d, regardless of whether the provider or school receives federal financial assistance. A private prekindergarten provider or public school may not discriminate against a parent or child, including the refusal to admit a child for enrollment in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program, in violation of these antidiscrimination requirements.
(d) Each parent who enrolls his or her child in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program must allow his or her child to participate in the coordinated screening and progress monitoring program under s. 1008.25(9).
History.—s. 1, ch. 2004-484; s. 4, ch. 2009-3; s. 26, ch. 2010-210; s. 3, ch. 2010-227; s. 449, ch. 2011-142; s. 3, ch. 2013-252; s. 6, ch. 2016-237; s. 34, ch. 2021-10; s. 5, ch. 2022-16; s. 23, ch. 2023-108.