WHEREAS, the kindergarten is recognized in American education as an essential prerequisite to success in the first grade and the early years of formal education; and

WHEREAS, there is a direct relationship between failure in the initial years of formal education and the high percentage of drop-outs in our public school systems; and

WHEREAS, it is believed that cooperation between the school and the home in the early years of education may substantially enhance the learning capabilities of children;



The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:


Section 1.  A new section, to be designated G.S. 115-198.1, is hereby added immediately following G.S. 115-198 and immediately preceding G.S. 115-199 to read as follows:

"Sec. 115-198.1.  State Kindergarten Program. The State Board of Education shall initiate in each of the eight educational districts, as defined in G.S. 115-3, a State public kindergarten program for five-year-olds in as many schools and for as many pupils as funds appropriated for this purpose will permit. The kindergarten program shall be operated and administered in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the State Board, upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Funds appropriated for this program may be used to implement the following objectives:

(a)        To provide for the establishment and operation of public kindergarten programs.

(b)        To stimulate the establishment of educational technology programs in the area of early childhood education in the State teacher training institutions and in the community colleges.

(c)        To provide scholarships and grants-in-aid to teachers to permit their attendance at schools and workshops offering instruction in kindergarten education.

(d)        To provide services in the Department of Public Instruction in kindergarten education in order that the Department might provide guidance and direction to the program and develop appropriate standards of instruction for all kindergarten programs operating within the State."

Sec. 2.  G.S. 115-6(1) is amended by adding at the end on line four the following:

"and which may have a kindergarten or other early childhood program;"

Sec. 3.  G.S. 115-38 is rewritten as follows:

"Sec. 115-38.  Kindergartens. County and city boards of education may provide for their respective administrative units, or for any district in a county administrative unit, kindergartens as a part of the public school system and may operate them from any funds available to the board for this purpose.

Any kindergarten program that shall be established or any kindergarten program now being operated shall be subject to the supervision of the State Department of Public Instruction and shall be operated in accordance with standards adopted by the State Board of Education."

Sec. 4.  G.S. 115-162 is amended by adding the following paragraph at the end:

"Children are entitled to enroll in kindergarten programs in the public schools if they have passed the fifth anniversary of their birth before October 15 of the year in which they enroll and if they have presented themselves for enrollment during the first month of the school year. The State Board of Education may change the October 15 date if it deems necessary."

Sec. 5.  G.S. 115-79 is amended by adding the following words at the end of line 4:

"or for any other item for which State appropriations are authorized."

Sec. 6.  All laws and clauses of laws in conflict with this Act are hereby repealed.

Sec. 7.  This Act shall become effective upon its ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 1st day of July, 1969.