Del Mar school district parents ask for early kindergarten admittance

By Karen Billing

Some parents came before the Del Mar Union School District Board Feb. 29 to ask for flexibility in kindergarten admittance. In 2010, a law passed that required children to be 5 years old when they start kindergarten over a phased, three-year timeline that starts this fall.

Up until this year, the date children must be 5 years old to start kindergarten was Dec. 2. Starting in the fall, children must be 5 years old on or before Nov. 1 for the 2012-13 school year.

In the 2013-14 school year that date moves up to Oct. 1 and in the 2014-15 school year, it is pushed to Sept. 1.

The California Department of Education has no authority to require districts to admit under-age children. Districts may admit children whose birthdays occur after the cut-off date, but they must wait until their fifth birthday occurs to attend school.

The education code allows children to be admitted early on a case by case basis, but districts are advised to base early admissions on test results, maturity or preschool records.

“The school board can make adjustments,” urged parent Uday Patel. “Kids who are prepared to go to kindergarten should be able to go to kindergarten.”