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Education

Mandatory kindergarten bill signed for Buffalo schools

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that allows the Buffalo school board to require mandatory kindergarten attendance for 5-year-old children. Up until now, kids were not required to attend school until the age of six. Implementation of the new policy is expected to take effect this coming school year. 

The requirement would not apply to students who don't attend public school, kids who are home-schooled, or whose parents opt out. 

A similar bill was signed Wednesday for the Utica school district.

“Early education can be one of the most important factors in a student’s long-term development – and ensuring that all children in the Buffalo and Utica city school districts attend Kindergarten is a great way to unlock their future potential,” Cuomo said, in a statement.

“These actions complement our administration’s efforts to improve educational opportunities for all of New York’s students, and it echoes similar policies in public schools in virtually every major city in the state. I am proud to sign this legislation into law and I thank the bills’ sponsors for their vision and dedication on this issue.”

Buffalo School Chief of Student Support Will Keresztes said in a statement Wednesday the district is preparing for implementing the new requirement.

"Over time, we expect a heightened interest in pre-kindergarten programs as well as a result of this legislation. The district must prepare for the possibility of new classrooms for that level of instruction as well," Keresztes said.

 

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