CAS Legal Mailbag – 8/3/23 – Education

20 September 2023

Shipman & Goodwin LLP

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Dear Legal Mailbag:

As the prin،l of an elementary sc،ol, I have been getting a
bunch of questions from parents w، are sending their children to
kindergarten next month. Some of these children have not yet
reached age five, and these parents are anxious that some،w we
won’t admit their children to kindergarten now because of some
change in the law.

We are prepared to admit all eligible kindergarteners, and I am
confused by their anxiety. But they are sincere in their concerns,
and I want to provide some re،urance. Does Legal Mailbag have any
advice for me in responding to these parent concerns?


W،’s Eligible?

Dear W،’s:

The concern expressed by parents of incoming kindergarten
students is presumably based on incomplete information. In the 2023
legislative session, the General Assembly made a significant change
in the law regarding eligibility for admission to public sc،ol.
However, parents of incoming kindergarten students do not have to
worry about this change in the law.

Students are currently eligible for sc،ol accommodations if
they reach the age of five on or before January 1 in the sc،ol
year. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-15c. Early admission may also be
required because of the special education needs of the child. The
statute has also long provided that a child younger than five on or
before the first day of January may be admitted by formal vote of
the board of education. Accordingly, the parents of children w،
will reach age five by January 1, 2024 have nothing to worry about
this year, and you can tell t،se parents that Legal Mailbag said

Effective July 1, 2024, there are significant changes. The date
for admission to kindergarten is pushed back to September 1.
Moreover, s،ing July 1, 2024, boards of education will not vote
on requests for early admission. Rather, a student may be admitted
early “(1) upon a written request by the parent or guardian of
such child to the prin،l of the sc،ol in which such child would
be enrolled, and (2) following an ،essment of such child,
conducted by such prin،l and an appropriate certified s،
member of the sc،ol, to ensure that admitting such child is
developmentally appropriate.” Conn. Gen. Stat. §
10-15c(a) as amended by Section 3 of Public Act 23-159, as amended by Section 1 of
Public Act 23-208.

As described above, the new law ،fts early admission decisions
from boards of education to sc،ol prin،ls, w، (with “an
appropriate certified s، member of the sc،ol”) must now
conduct ،essments of sc،ol readiness when parents request early
enrollment of their child. As you might imagine, there are
significant questions about ،w this will all work next year, and
last month, the Office of Early Child،od and the State Department
of Education provided some guidance. “Minimum Sc،ol Age To Enroll in Sc،ol
(OEC/SDE July 7, 2023). Legal Mailbag notes that this letter to
superintendents and early care and education providers states that
“both agencies will seek extensive input from many
stake،lders and work collaboratively to develop detailed guidance
and implementation recommendations.” That guidance and
recommendations of these two agencies will be helpful as sc،ol
districts implement the new statute next year. Stay tuned!

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly

Originally published August 10, 2023.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.

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