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OXNARD : Girl, 4, Must Wait to Start Kindergarten

The parents of a 4-year-old will have to wait until next year to enter their child in kindergarten because they said they cannot afford a psychological evaluation needed for her to be considered for early enrollment.

At a meeting of the Oxnard Elementary School District board of trustees this week, Alan and Belia Moore told officials that their daughter, Brandie, was ready for school but that they could not afford to pay $500 bill to have a psychologist confirm that she is emotionally mature.

“She’s jazzed about school, but we don’t have that kind of money,” said Alan Moore, who asked the district for financial assistance or a waiver to the policy on Thursday.

However, officials denied Moore’s request, citing budgetary constraints and fears they would create a precedent for other parents who feel their children should start school early.

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Supt. Norman Brekke said a state law that requires children entering kindergarten to be 5 by Dec. 2 has kept early enrollment to a minimum.

To be considered, would-be students born after that date must have a letter from their preschool teacher recommending advancement and must pass a four- or five-hour psychologicalexam.

Brekke said that the district has made exceptions for students who have birthdays as late as Dec. 30 but that no students have been admitted to the district early in many years.

“We strongly discourage it,” the superintendent of the 12,500-student district said.

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“People try to use kindergarten as a day-care, but it’s not.”

The Moores said Brandie, who will be 5 on Dec. 20, is bilingual in English and Spanish, can write her name and can count to 30 with a little help.

“To pass kindergarten, the children only have to count to 20,” Alan Moore said.


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