Sunday, March 7, 2004

Kindergarten registration begins

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

Kindergarten registration for the 2004-'05 school year is in full swing in Northern Kentucky.

Tuesday is registration day in Kenton County's 11 elementary schools, and in Boone County, the state's third-largest district, five of the 11 elementary schools hold registration this month and six have already done so. Campbell County's six elementary schools will hold registration on five different days in early April.

While parents in Kentucky don't have to send their children to kindergarten, it's an option most of them choose.

"Compulsory attendance in Kentucky is ages six to 16, so kindergarten is not required," said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education. "But most parents usually do send their kids."

Of the 780 public elementary schools in the state, 600 offer full-day kindergarten. However, the state only provides funds for a half-day program. That means districts have to make up the difference through their budgets or pass the cost to parents.

Campbell County started a fee-based program last year, charging families as much as $500 annually per child for full-day kindergarten. In Fort Thomas' Woodfill Elementary School, the cost is as much as $2,000 per student a year.

Gross said the only state law for kindergarten registration is that each child must have an immunization record. But in Boone County, for example, parents will also need to provide a current school physical, a current eye examination, a certified copy of the birth certificate, a Social Security card and proof of residency.

Gross said parents need to check with their districts on fees, guidelines and requirements.

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