Senate does not concur with kindergarten eligibility date change

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Senate does not concur with kindergarten eligibility date change

A bill changing the start date for kindergarten students failed to clear its last legislative hurdle.


Senators defeated House Bill 1174, which changes the kindergarten enrollment eligibility date, on an 11-24 vote. This came after the Senate Education committee passed the bill on a 5-2 vote. ASBSD was monitoring the bill.


Starting in 2021, HB 1174 would move the cutoff date for kindergarten enrollment from September 1 to August 1 thus requiring any child enrolling in the earliest grade level in South Dakota schools to be 5-years old by August 1, whereas students previously could begin the school year at 4-years-old as long as they turned 5 by September 1.


Sen. Wayne Steinhauer called it a “simple bill trying to address a complex issue” and he preferred to see South Dakota “work towards an assessment” to measure readiness of potential students.


In addition, Sen. Steinhauer noted the potential for “an issue for our appropriators” as the state Department of Education estimated a $4 million holdover from year to the next based on the change.


Sen. Kyle Schoenfish said the bill would “align the eligibility date more with the start date” of the school year and would not have effected family decisions for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.


For updates from the 2020 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.

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