The half-day conversion overage only applies to districts that receive Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) funding designated for the provision of full-day PreK to three- and/or four-year old pupils; that is districts with numbers in Column F and/or Column I of the UPK Allocations List. It does not apply to districts that receive funding designated for half-day programming but have elected to provide full-day services.
The half-day conversion overage is intended to discourage districts from converting either 3-year old or 4-year old full-day Pre-K slots to half-day. If a district serves more than 30 percent of its base eligible 3-year old (Column F) or 4-year old full-day slots (Column I) in half-day slots, the district is subject to a reduction in its grant payable. This reduction is equal to the funding allocated for the number of full-day slots served as half-day slots in excess of the 30 percent threshold. This loss of funding will not impact the maximum grant payable or base eligible pupil count for the following year.
Districts may apply to the commissioner for a hardship waiver that would allow a district to convert more than 30 percent of full-day slots to half-day slots and receive funding for such pupils served. This waiver will be granted upon a demonstration by the school district that due to a significant change in the resources available to the school district and absent this hardship waiver, the school district would be unable to serve such pupils in prekindergarten programs, without causing significant disruption to other district programming. After the first Universal Pre-K output reports are available in the State Aid Management System (SAMS), the Department will identify districts that are at risk of being assessed the half-day conversion overage. Such districts will be contacted with specific instructions for determining whether a waiver request is appropriate and submitting a request.
District A has an allocation of $100,000 to serve 26 four-year olds in half-day slots and 10 four- year olds in full-day slots (26 * 0.5 + 10 = 23 FTEs). Due to fiscal constraints, the district decides to eliminate the full-day classroom and serve 36 pupils in half-day slots; two half-day sessions of 18 students (18 FTEs). Under this plan, District A will lose funding for two reasons: (A) the district is serving fewer FTEs under this plan than the allocation requires, and (B) the district will incur an overage penalty.
The overage penalty is calculated as follows. District A is funded for 10 full-day slots but converted all 10 to half-day slots. The law says if a district converts more than 30% of the full- day slots (3 slots) to half-day, the FTEs served must be reduced by the number of slots in excess of the 30% (7 slots). Therefore, District A would lose funding for an additional 7 FTEs. Stated differently, because District A is converting to all half-day Pre-K, it would receive the UPK funds allocated for half-day slots, plus half of 30% of funds allocated for full-day slots.
As a result of serving fewer FTEs under this plan than the allocation requires (18 / 23 FTEs is 78.26%), District A would lose $21,739. The overage penalty would impose an additional reduction of $30,435 (7 of 23 FTEs is 30.43%) for serving more than 30% of the full-day seats in half-day programs. This is the calculation:
Step 1: 18 FTE pupils served
Step 2: Overage reduction of 7 pupils reduces 18 FTE pupils served to 11.
Step 3: 11 / 23 FTE pupils to serve (from Column I of UPK Allocations List) = 47.826%
Step 4: $100,000 X 0.47826 = $47,826 (maximum grant payable)
District A applies for a hardship waiver, which is approved. The maximum UPK grant payable would be $78,260, calculated as follows:
Step 1: 18 FTE pupils served
Step 2: No overage reduction due to waiver
Step 3: 18 / 23 FTE pupil to serve (from Column I of UPK Allocations List) = 78.26%
Step 4: $100,000 X 0.78260 = $78,260 (maximum grant payable)