School districts not expecting many ripples from new compulsory age


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Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2013, 11:18 pm
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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com
Several Quad-Cities area school districts are not expecting a new, lower compulsory school age to cause much complication in operations.

The law signed last Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn and scheduled to take effect in the 2014-2015 school year, lowers the compulsory age from 7 to 6, a move state officials said puts Illinois in line with about half of U.S. states.

Once the law takes effect, any student turning 6 years old on or before Sept. 1 must be enrolled in school for that school year.

Officials from local districts -- including Hampton, Silvis, Rock Island-Milan and Moline-Coal Valley -- said most of their students already start before 7 or even 6, or that the law would not change things to any serious degree.

"I do not recall anyone over the years not starting their child in kindergarten at age 5," Hampton superintendent Tom Berg said. "There are often people who ask to start children at age 4. For Hampton, I believe it to be a non-issue."

Silvis superintendent Ray Bergles said most Silvis students have attended preschool, then go directly to kindergarten."There might be (one to three) students per year that might begin later," he said.

Nearly all Carbon Cliff-Barstow students are in kindergarten by the time they are 5, superintendent Andy Richmond said.

Initially, backers wanted the compulsory age lowered to 5, which is the compulsory age in the District of Columbia, but that idea was scrapped.

Opponents had questioned the cost of the change. State officials have estimated that lowering the age would cost roughly $28 million.

The Illinois State Board of Education said that cost would be spread out between school districts and the state and would be caused by the possible influx of students.

But Gov. Quinn said the overall societal benefits of educating children outweighed the costs.

Mr. Richmond said the measure could have some advantages for students in regards to their development at the time they reach school.

"The only advantage I see by waiting until the age of 6 would be the maturation of the child," Mr. Richmond said.

The law can be viewed at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=098-0544 .

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


















 



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  Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.




(More History)