Prekindergarten Waiting Lists and Waivers

1. Can school districts keep “waiting lists” of eligible children who are not being served?  

  • Not for eligible 4-year-olds. By law, a school district must offer prekindergarten classes if it identifies 15 or more children who are eligible and are 4 years of age by September 1 of the current school year. If a district offers a program for eligible 3-year-olds and runs out of capacity, a waiting list or lottery for 3-year-olds only may be established under district policy. In this case, the district may not be serving ineligible 3- or 4-year-old students until all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds have been served. See Guidelines for Offering Tuition-Based Prekindergarten in Category IV. 
  • Citation: TEC §29.153(a)  

2. Can TEA waive the requirement to begin a prekindergarten program?

  • Yes. On application of a district, the commissioner may exempt a district if the district would be required to construct classroom facilities in order to begin offering prekindergarten classes. A district waiver request must be accompanied by a plan from the district on how they will begin implementation of the program by the beginning of the school year following the request if the district continues to have 15 or more eligible students. Ongoing and continuous waivers and waivers requesting to not add students to an existing program will not be approved. 
  • Citation: TEC §29.153(d)

3.Can districts have prekindergarten teachers conduct home visits instead of classroom instruction? 

  •  A waiver must be obtained in order to conduct home visits instead of classroom instruction during the first weeks of school. However, unless a student is physically present in the classroom, the student must be counted absent.


Department of Federal and State Education Policy: 512-936-6060

Program Contacts:

Gina S. Day,

Howard Morrison,