Burbank Unified officials have outlined plans to increase the minimum age for incoming kindergarten students while simultaneously launching a new program to serve those who don’t make the modified cut-off date.
The move will bring the district into compliance with new state legislation designed to eliminate younger children from the classroom who experts say sometimes can be unprepared.
The Kindergarten Readiness Act, signed into law in 2010 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, requires that all students entering kindergarten in 2014 must turn 5 by Sept. 1 – three months earlier than the current Dec. 1 cutoff date.
It also mandates a special pre-kindergarten program — dubbed transitional kindergarten — for those born between September and December, meaning that some students will actually be eligible for two years of instruction before starting first grade.
Transitional kindergarten is free and voluntary.
“We are one of only four states currently that have Dec. 1 as the cutoff,” Sharon Cuseo, director of assessment and accountability, said at the Nov. 3 school board meeting. “Everybody else really does start closer to the beginning of the school year so their kids are older.”