STAND. COM. REP. NO.2222
RE: S.B. No. 2032
Honorable Robert Bunda
President of the Senate
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Education, to which was referred S.B. No. 2032 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to advance the date that is used to determine a child's kindergarten entry age from December 31 to September 30, and to allocate the funds saved thereby to other educational programs.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services, and a local child therapist. The Hawaii State Teachers Association submitted testimony in opposition to this measure. The Hawaii Educational Policy Center submitted a comparative analysis for consideration by your Committee.
Your Committee finds that under existing law and related rules, the cutoff date for determining age eligibility for entry into kindergarten is December 31 of each year. Your Committee further finds that only Maryland and Hawaii use December 31 as a cutoff date for public school students.
By having such a late date to determine age eligibility for kindergarten, your Committee finds that some students enter school at too young an age. As a result, these students may lack the maturity and intellectual capability necessary to succeed in school. Therefore, your Committee supports the intent of this measure, to advance the age eligibility cutoff date to September 30.
Your Committee amended this measure to delay its implementation for one year, so that the new age cutoff date will take effect beginning with the 2003-2004 school year. Your Committee believes that this amendment will assist parents and the Department of Education ("D.O.E.") in preparing for this change.
Your Committee also amended this measure to specify that the cost savings to be realized from the date change should be applied to the Resources for Early Access to Learning ("R.E.A.L.") and Pre Plus programs, as well as for early education, school readiness, and other programs to be determined by the D.O.E. and the Department of Human Services. These programs, particularly R.E.A.L. and Pre Plus, are invaluable in giving our young children the fundamental skills necessary to succeed once they begin school.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Education that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 2032, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 2032, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Education,
NORMAN SAKAMOTO, Chair