Senate Ed Committee Passes Kindergarten Start Age Change

Bob Kefgen's picture

A pair of bills to gradually increase the cutoff age for kindergarten was unexpectedly reported out of the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday.

Under Senate Bill 315 (S-3), a child must be at least five years old as of November 1, rather than December 1, in order to enroll in kindergarten in the 2012-13 school year. Subsequently, in the 2013-14 school year, the child would have to be at least five years old as of October 1, and, beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the child would have to be at least five years old as of September 1 to enroll in kindergarten.

Senate Bill 316 (S-3) is a companion bill that would change pupil accounting rules to mirror the change in the enrollment age.

Though the bills passed Committee, they may not have the support necessary to make it through the Senate, let alone the House. Though a group of early elementary teachers testified in favor of the legislation, the consensus of most of the education community was opposition to and/or serious concerns with the bill as written.

Several issues with the bills as they stand include the fact that that they would: exacerbate the existing shortage of Pre-K education; create artificially smaller cohorts, leading to ongoing logistical and financial problems for districts as those groups moved through the system; and limit parent choice.