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Frequently Asked Questions: Early Childhood Education

Are preschoolers eligible for protections under the McKinney-Vento Act?

Yes. Preschoolers are covered under the McKinney-Vento Act and have the right to maintain enrollment and receive transportation to their school of origin. 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(3)(I)(i); 42 U.S.C. § 11432(g)(6)(A)(iii); N.Y. Education Law § 3209(1)(i); N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4).
In NYC, with Universal Pre-k, any family who applies for pre-k will be offered a seat. If there are no pre-kindergarten classes in the district, every effort should be made to find an appropriate placement for children whose parents request pre-kindergarten classes. See, NYC Chancellor's Regulations A-780[II] for more information about Universal Pre-K.

What are the school selection options for a preschool age student?

Preschool age students can attend the school where the family is currently located, or can attend their school of origin. Under new amendments to New York State Education Law Section 3209, the definition of school of origin has been expanded, and the school selection options for preschool age children has been clarified. A preschooler can enroll in:

  1. The school that a child attended when permanently housed.
    • If the child was not attending school where the family was last permanently housed, the school of origin would include a public preschool in which the child was eligible to apply, register or enroll before the initial loss of housing.
    • If the child has a sibling attending the school in the district where the family was last permanently housed, then the child would be entitled to attend school in that district as well. The school of origin for the child would be based on the sibling's last permanent residence.
  2. The school where the child was last enrolled.
  3. The child's new local preschool.

N.Y. Education Law § 3209(1)(i).

What is the process for having a student evaluated for preschool special education services?

To have a preschool aged child evaluated for special education services:

  1. The person who would like to initiate the evaluation must make a referral to the school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) Chair, requesting an evaluation for the student. 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 200.4(a).
  2. The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) must make an eligibility determination as well as service and/or placement recommendations within 60 school days of when parent's consent for the evaluation was given. 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 200.16(d) and 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 200.16(e).
  3. The district must implement the CPSE recommendations on the next program start date, which will typically be in July, September or January.
  4. If the program is scheduled to start within less than 30 days from the recommendations, or if the program has already started at the time that the recommendations are finalized, the district must implement the program within 30 school days from a CPSE recommendation, and within 60 days from the date when the parent consented to evaluations. 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 200.16(f).

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