In reaching such a decision, the principal may use both objective and subjective criteria, keeping in mind only that the decision must be reasonably and rationally related to the facts of the specific situation. All public school systems must offer kindergarten, but children are not required to attend.
The following questions and answers are provided as specific examples of the manner in which the statute should be implemented. Compulsory attendance applies to children between the ages of seven and sixteen and also children aged 5 or 6 as long as they are enrolled in public school.
Must a seven-year-old child who has never attended school be placed in kindergarten? The principal has the authority to place the child.
May a child enrolled in public kindergarten be promoted during the school year if the principal feels such reclassification is appropriate?
Yes, the principal has the authority to place a child in a class where the principal feels the child could most appropriately function.
Must a principal accept a kindergarten student who enrolls late in the school year?
The current statute specifies a single entry age for enrollment in a public school and designates kindergarten as the initial point of entry into the system.
115C-364 differs from the former school entry age statute which specified separate entry ages for kindergarten and first grade.
It is also important to remember, as a practical matter, that each decision about eligibility to enroll may and often does require two decisions: The first question is easy to answer.
If the child reaches the age of five years on or before August 31st of the year he is presented for enrollment, the child is eligible to enroll.
If his fifth birth date falls on or after September 1st, the child is not eligible to enroll. The second question may be somewhat more complicated.
The statute contemplates that the vast majority of children presented for enrollment belong in kindergarten and will be automatically assigned there.