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Deadline for kindergarten students changes for 2017-2018 year

Kindergarteners for the 2017-2018 school year face an earlier deadline than ever before; they must be five by Aug. 1, a change from the former deadline of Oct. 1.

It’ll be an adjustment for parents used to the old system, but it will be a bigger adjustment for the schools to figure out, as members of the Boyle County Board of Education learned Thursday night.

“It will suppress enrollment, about one-sixth of enrollment,” said Boyle County Superintendent Mike LaFavers, about the first year. This is because there will only be 10 months of students.

The second year, enrollment will likely balloon, because it will be pulling from 14 months of students. By the 2019-2020 school year, the numbers will begin to balance out, he said.

The problem, LaFavers said, was figuring out the staffing needed to teach the students, when there could potentially be a 30-student difference from the current year to next year, then a surplus of more than 30 students, before it will likely level out in three years.

Schools use the January enrollment numbers to help determine staffing for the next year. When figuring out kindergarten students, they use the current kindergarten numbers as a guide.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to use that method going forward,” he said. “It’s going to cause something like that — not huge, but a management issue.

Parents of children who miss the Aug. 1 date do have the option of petitioning the district to allow their students early admission. Those restrictions are up to the respective school districts, who are currently adjusting their policies to meet the new deadline. However, according to the Kentucky Department of Education, that process includes looking at a child’s kindergarten readiness, as well as the availability of funding for the year, and the space in the district.

Districts will also be allowed to charge tuition for an underage resident student, but only if they charge resident students who meet the age requirements; the district is also allowed to charge underage non residents, but only if they charge non residents who meet the age requirements.

If a family qualifies for free or reduced lunch, any tuition fees must be waived.

Petitions for early admittance will be reviewed by the board of education on a case-by-case basis. David Young, assistant superintendent of the Boyle County Schools, said a committee will be formed to update the policy to reflect the deadline change, but hasn’t been yet. It will likely be March before those are available. Kindergarten enrollment begins in March, but the final enrollment will be July.

“It’s difficult to know the impact it will have,” he said. “It could have a big impact. It will be interesting.”

Keith Look, superintendent of the Danville Schools, said they will begin updating their policy soon as well.

To enroll any child in school, even preschool or Head Start, parents must have:

• a current Kentucky certificate of immunization;

• proof of a preventative health care exam conducted within the six months before entry into Head Start;

• proof of an eye exam between three and six-years-old by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, and documented on the Kentucky School Eye Exam form;

• proof of a dental screening or an exam by a dentist, dental hygienist, physician, registered nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant, and documented on the Kentucky Dental Screening form;

• and a legal birth certificate or other reliable proof of the child’s age and identification.

“Other reliable proof” includes: a social security card, a passport, military identification or immigration card, baptismal certificate, notarized copy of the record of baptism that shows date of birth, recording of the child’s name and birth in a family Bible or other religious text, notarized statement from the parent or other family member as to the date of birth, prior school record, driver’s license or learner’s permit, adoption record, any religious record authorized by a religious official, affidavit of age and identity, any government or court document reflecting date of birth, or oral proof when the native language of the parent is not a written language.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

SO YOU KNOW:

For more information about the requirements for a child to start school, visit http://bit.ly/2g65Tf7.