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Education

Bill extending kindergarten enrollment moves to Senate

Screenshot 2022-02-24 154909.jpg
Public Domain
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U.S. Dept. of Education

A bill that extends the date for kindergarten enrollment has passed the House and is now moving through the state Senate. Right now, any child who turns 5 on or before September 1st is eligible to enroll in kindergarten. House Bill 1163 keeps the
September 1st deadline. It also allows children who turn 5 between September 1st and October 31st to enroll if they pass a readiness assessment selected by their local school district.

Republican Representative Jess Olson of Rapid City is the prime sponsor. Olson says the current cutoff date does not meet students’ individual needs.

“Let me paint a picture of this.  Jane was born on August 26th. A week later her best friend and neighbor Liz on September 2nd. Both benefited from having older siblings, they play with each other, they’re bright socially well-adjusted, ready for kindergarten. But only Jane gets to pack her backpack. Liz was born one day too late. So her parents check with school - what can they do? And there is nothing that they can do. Liz cannot be assessed for readiness to join kindergarten.

Members of the Senate Education Committee passed House Bill 1163 with a vote of 6 to 1. It now moves to the Senate floor.