New law allows schools to require kindergarten

Chester. Sponsor NYS Sen. James Skoufis says kindergarten is essential to a strong educational foundation.

30 Dec 2019 | 01:20

State Sen. James Skoufis' (D-Hudson Valley) legislation to allow all school districts in New York State to require five-year-olds to attend kindergarten was signed into law by the Governor last week.

Previously, only eight school districts out of about 700 in the state were granted permission by the Legislature to require kindergarten attendance within their district.

In 2018, Skoufis, an Assemblyman at the time, successfully secured special funding to achieve universal, full-day kindergarten, and as a result, North Rockland transitioned to full-day kindergarten in September of 2018 and Washingtonville transitioned to a full-day program in September of 2019, both within the 39th Senate District.

“When children have a well-rounded kindergarten education, it fosters an essential foundation of their educational journey, which is why I’ve remained dedicated to delivering a quality kindergarten education for every single student in this state,” Skoufis said in the press release detailing the legislation. “Giving school boards the ability to require kindergarten attendance for five-year-olds is a long-overdue step in providing access to education and I’m thrilled this has been enacted into law.”

Elsie Rodriguez, Superintendent of Monroe-Woodbury School District said, “This new law will ensure that all students get an equitable start to their education. I am grateful for Senator Skoufis and Governor Cuomo for making this a law and recognizing the importance of kindergarten for all children.”

The law takes effect immediately.