(Frankfort, KY) – Beginning with the upcoming school year, children entering kindergarten must be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1. Up until now, the cutoff was Oct. 1.

The General Assembly changed the law in 2012, based on the premise that younger students may not be ready for kindergarten and may not get off to a successful start. The change takes effect for the 2017-18 school year, for which schools will soon be registering students.

Parents/caretakers may request an early enrollment option for those students not meeting the entry age requirement. Under KRS 158.030, districts must establish a policy for an early enrollment that includes an evaluation process to determine the child’s readiness for school.

In 2015, the General Assembly amended this statute to allow 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.

Districts are allowed to charge tuition for students admitted under the district’s early admission policy, but no more than they charge 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 nonresident students who meet the cutoff date, then the district can only charge the same amount of tuition to nonresident students who are admitted under the district’s early admission policy. However, districts cannot charge tuition to any students who are eligible for free/reduced-price meals.

Additional information can be found on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website.