published Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Tennessee House votes to require older kindergarten students

The House has voted to approve a Republican bill aiming to require children to be older before they can enroll in kindergarten over Democrats' arguments that the measure is aimed at laying off teachers.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Glen Casada of Franklin was approved on a 68-30 vote on Wednesday. Currently children must be 5 years old by Sept. 30. The measure would move that cut-off to Aug. 31 in the school year beginning in 2013, and to Aug. 15 the year after that.

Casada said he disputes a fiscal analysis that the change would affect 4,200 children at an annual cost savings to the state of more than $21 million. Four-year-olds could qualify if they pass a maturity test.

The companion bill is awaiting a Senate vote.

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