New Law Changes Kindergarten Age

Posted: October 2, 2010 in family law
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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a new law late Thursday night that California’s kindergartners of 2014 must turn five before Sept. 1 of that year to enroll in Kindergarten.

The provision in existing law that allows parents to enroll younger students on a case-by-case basis will remain in place.

The new law will be phased in. The cutoff date will be rolled back one month per year beginning in 2012 until all students in kindergarten will have turned five by Sept. 1.  The law, authored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also establishes a transitional kindergarten program on existing elementary school campuses for those students born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

The plan is intended to create savings by keeping more than 100,000 so-called “young fives” out of traditional kindergarten and establishing a transitional kindergarten for them on existing elementary campuses. The program would be limited to just those children born between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

However, the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office estimates that the law could cost California between $700 million and $900 million annually when the original smaller kindergarten class graduates from high school. At that point, the state will have committed to extending public education from 13 years to 14.

More information will be given to parents of young children as the school districts figure out how to phase this new law into the educational system.

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