Early Admission Tuition for Kindergarten and SEEK
The General Assembly changed the statutory cut-off date in 2012 for initial admission to public schools from October 1 to August 1 and created an early enrollment option for those students not meeting the birthday deadline but wishing to attend kindergarten. Then, in 2015, the General Assembly amended this statute to allow school districts to charge tuition to those early admission students enrolled pursuant to the district’s policy and the district’s school readiness evaluation. The 2015 statutory change also now allows early admission students, enrolled under the district’s policy, to be counted in the district’s average daily attendance (ADA) for the calculation of SEEK.
The district is allowed to charge early admission students, admitted under the district’s policy, only the same amount of tuition that the district charges students who meet the age requirements for enrollment. Therefore, if a district does not charge tuition for resident students who are 5-years-old by the cutoff date, then the district cannot charge tuition to resident students who are admitted under the early admission policy. Similarly, if the district does charge tuition for non-resident students who are 5- years-old by the cutoff date, then the district can only charge the same amount of tuition to non-resident students who are admitted under the district’s early admission policy. Early admission students can be counted in the district’s ADA for the calculation of SEEK just like age-eligible students. Those students who attend as resident students, non-resident agreement students, and children of district employee students, can be counted in the district’s ADA if they are age-eligible or early admission students admitted under the district’s policy. Finally, if a student is eligible for free/reduced price lunch, then the district is required to waive the tuition fee for that student pursuant to Kentucky statute KRS 158.108 and Kentucky regulation 702 KAR 3:220.
Districts can charge early admission students the same tuition that the district charges students who meet the age requirements in KRS 158.030.
Districts cannot charge free/reduced price lunch eligible students any tuition, pursuant to 702 KAR 3:220.
Districts can count early admission students, admitted under the district’s policy, in their ADA just as if the students had met the age requirements in KRS 158.030.
Determining a Student’s Readiness for School: Evaluation Process
Senate Bill 24 (SB 24), enacted during the 2012 Regular Session, amends KRS 158.030 by requiring each local school board to adopt a policy for parents or guardians to petition the board to enroll a child who does not meet the kindergarten age requirement of turning 5 years of age on or before October 1. It’s important to note the kindergarten age requirement of turning 5 years of age changed to August 1 in the 2017-2018 school year. The policy must include an evaluation process that will help determine a child’s readiness for school.
What may the evaluation process include to determine a student’s readiness for school?
The local school board should develop a process that is consistent with Kentucky’s school readiness definition and ensures children who are not age-eligible for kindergarten demonstrate readiness in all developmental domains (e.g., approaches to learning, health and physical well-being, language and communication development, social and emotional development, cognitive and general knowledge).
The process should include multiple measures of a child’s readiness for school. Using multiple measures and sources are essential to making the best decision and are best practice. These measures include, but are not limited to the following:
The process may consider the transition points all children experience.
School districts should provide training and professional development to kindergarten teachers on the characteristics and needs of young children with high potential.
May a team be formed to determine a child’s readiness for school?
A team approach is recommended with membership including teachers, parents, psychologists and district specialists such as the gifted education coordinator. At least one member of the team should represent the district office and have an understanding of early childhood development.
What might a team consider in order to determine if a child’s ready for school?
Relevant information from multiple measures and sources should be reviewed to provide the school principal with the best possible recommendation about a child’s readiness for kindergarten.
The school is responsible for making final placement decisions.Teams should consider children’s readiness in all domains to determine readiness for kindergarten. Children develop at varying rates within the different domains, and some children will exhibit skills far above their age group while others may take longer to demonstrate the same set of skills. Therefore, uniqueness is to be valued.
A school district may advance a student through the primary program when it is determined that it is in the best educational interest of the student.
May a district charge tuition for a student’s early entry into kindergarten?
Yes, this is allowable. If a school district charges tuition for early entrance into kindergarten, meaning enrollment of a child who does not meet the age requirement, the amount of tuition must be the same as the tuition charged to a student who meets the age requirement (Senate Bill 201).
May a district receive SEEK funding for a student’s early entry into kindergarten?
Yes, if enrolled according to local policies (Senate Bill 201), districts may count early entrants for funding purposes. Beginning with the 2015-2016 school year, SEEK will be awarded based on attendance of early entrants. Students must be enrolled according to the district’s required early entrance policy. Districts may continue to consider space and funding in their policies on early entrance into kindergarten.