A California lawmakers is pushing a bill that would require children to be 5-years-old when they enter kindergarten.
The bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), would require a child whose fifth birthday is on or after the 1st of September to wait a year before entering kindergarten. Under the current law, children are allowed to enroll into kindergarten if they turn 5-years-old before December 2nd of that year.
The Legislative Analyst's Office says the measure is expected to save the state about $700 million annually for 13 years and lower the state's kindergarten population by 100,000.
In a press release, state Sen. Simitian said:
"Today's kindergarten classroom is a much different place than most of us experienced... We're placing real academic demands on our kids, and the youngest are struggling to keep up. The evidence shows that giving these younger kindergarteners an extra year can make a big difference in their long term success."
Half the savings from the bill would go towards funding quality preschool programs for kids whose entry to kindergarten would be delayed. The rest of the money would go to help California's budget shortfall. Under the bill, parents would still be able to request exceptions from their local school district.
The measure was approved by the state Senate and is now headed to the Assembly.