FAQ for School Year 2020-2021
1. Is my child eligible to attend the VPK Program during the 20-21 school year?
Any child who reaches the age of 4 on or before September 1 and lives in the State of Florida is eligible for VPK. NOTE: A new law took effect on July 1, 2016 extending VPK eligibility for 4 year-olds with birthdays from February 2 through September 1 in a calendar year. Parents can enroll their child in the state’s free, voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) education program that year or wait until the following year when their child is 5. If a parent opts to delay VPK to the next year, they understand that their child will not attend the 2020-2021 school year. Their child will attend VPK in 2021-2022. Students are only eligible to participate in one program year of VPK. Please call Jackie Atkinson, PreK Resource Teacher or Molly Mancuso, VPK Fiscal Assistant, should you have any questions on your student's eligibility to delay VPK to the 2021-2022 school year. Once your child has started the VPK program, you are no longer eligible to delay your child’s enrollment to the following year.
2. How do I apply for VPK at a Lake County Public School?
Lake County Public Schools VPK on-line registration is taking place right now. Applications will not be accepted in person, they must be completed using the on-line tool. Check the “Participating School List” (located on the Registration Process tab) provided on this website for available sites. It is highly recommended that you live within the school zone to which you apply.
3. Do I need to complete a school choice application for VPK if I am out of zone?
No, it is up to each school’s administrator if they will accept a student out of zone. School choice does not apply to the VPK program, only grades K-12.
4. Where can I obtain a Lake County Schools VPK Application?
The registration process is on-line and can be found by visiting the registration tab.
5. How do I get a certificate?
The Certificates of Eligibility are issued on-line through the Office of Early Learning. They are currently available for both the 2020-2021 school year (this includes Summer 2021) as well as the 2021-2022 school year. Please make sure you select the correct program year when applying for your student's certificate. Should you need assistance or do not have access to a computer and scanner, please go to the Early Learning Coalition of Lake County’s office at 1300 Citizens Blvd., Leesburg (352-435-0566), Monday - Thursday (8:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.). If you do not need assistance, please visit the Florida Office of Early Learning’s on-line registration system.
You must have a valid email address (Yahoo and Gmail offer free email accounts). Additionally, you must take your child’s original birth certificate (or a certified copy) and proof of residency for the certificate to be issued. It is also required that the parent or guardian be present. You may not send someone else as a representative.
6. What do I do with the certificate?
The Certificate of Eligibility must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include in your email where your child will attend VPK. We will not be accepting the Certificates of Eligibility until after you have been notified of placement.*
All certificates (this includes First and Second Semesters) must be obtained and turned in to the school site by a soon to be determined date* in order to maintain their place on the class list. Students on the class list without certificates by the deadline may lose their slot and will be replaced by a student from the waiting list.
7. Is there a cost for VPK?
No, the Lake County Public Schools Voluntary Prekindergarten program is completely free of charge but you must provide the Certificate of Eligibility to the school by the designated deadline.
8. What happens if the program is full and my child can’t attend?
Each class may have no more than 20 children and the ½ Day Program has no more than 10. Each school will maintain a waiting list and will notify parents of vacant spaces when they occur in the order of the wait list. This will be maintained the entire school year. Additionally, if your child doesn’t use more than 53 hours, they will be eligible to participate in Summer VPK (see #14).
9. What are the hours and calendar of VPK?
The Voluntary Prekindergarten Program follows the Lake County Public Schools calendar as well as the school’s regular operating hours. The ½ Day Program at Rimes Early Learning Center takes place in the morning and ends by 11:30a.m.
10. Do I need to enroll at the school?
Yes. Once a family has been notified of placement they must officially enroll their student at the school in order to attend class. Children may not attend prior to providing all required enrollment documentation (this includes the Lake County VPK Application).
11. What documentation do I need to enroll my student with the school?
Original Birth Certificate or a Certified Copy
Parent/Legal Guardian Photo ID or Voter Registration Card
Proof of Residency - any TWO of the following:
|1. Current Lease (additional documentation could be requested)|
|2. Bill of Sale or Deed for house with current physical address|
|3. Homestead Exemption receipt with current physical address|
|4. Utility deposit receipt with current physical address|
|5. Utility bill with current physical address|
Social Security Number (optional)
The school will only enroll your child if the Certificate of Eligibility has been received by the designated deadline.
12. What if my child lives in a school zone that does not provide VPK?
Children may attend Rimes Early Learning and Literacy Center without school zone requirements.
13. What about extended day?
Before and/or after school care is not available for VPK students.
14. What if my child can’t be served during the school year?
If there are children who cannot be served during the regular school year, a VPK program will be provided during the summer prior to their Kindergarten year, if the parent so requests. The locations for summer VPK are determined in late spring of that school year. A student may NOT use more than 53 hours of their voucher during the regular school year in order to be eligible to participate in the summer program. Classes are based on enrollment. If there are not enough students for one location, students will have the opportunity to attend at another site.
15. What is the Semester Program?
The Semester Program is fully funded by the state (540 hours). Our students go all day every day for one semester (90 days). Your child will be assigned to either the first semester program OR the second semester program but they cannot attend both. A student attending a second semester class may not use ANY portion of his/her VPK hours with another provider during the fall semester. Should that occur, the space will be filled with another student. Parents are encouraged to extend the learning experience of their children by communicating with the assigned VPK teacher and resources provided throughout the year.
2020-2021 Semester Dates:
First Semester: August 24, 2020 – January 15, 2021
Second Semester: January 20, 2021 - June 4, 2021
16. What is the Half Day Program?
The Half Day Program is fully funded by the state (540 hours). Our students attend for the first 3 hours of the day for the full year. Currently this program is available at Rimes Early Learning & Literacy Center located in Leesburg.
17. What is the Title I Program?
This is a combination of State VPK funds and Federal Title I funds being used to provide a full day, full year program to students who qualify.
The eligibility criteria for this program is as follows:
- Economic Eligibility - eligibility is based on the reduced income eligibility guidelines. These can be found on the VPK Economic Eligibility section of the on-line application (coming soon).
- Student Screening - students will be asked 10 questions by designated school personnel. Student placement will be ranked according to academic needs. The process for the student screening is currently under review due to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing.
The participating Title I VPK schools are listed in the VPK Registration Process section of this website.
Transportation is not provided for VPK Students. Parents are responsible for ensuring their children arrive safely and in a timely manner per the VPK program requirements. If needed, please review the Transportation Department’s information regarding fee-based transportation.
19. Before/After School Care
Currently, VPK Students are not eligible for the before and/or after school care program.