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Bill Will Keep Some 4-Year-Olds From Starting Kindergarten

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — Thousands of 4-year-olds will be held back from entering California’s kindergartens under a bill approved by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The law he signed Thursday moves up the cutoff date by one month each year for three years, from the current Dec. 2 deadline to Sept. 1. California has one of the latest start dates in the nation.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the state could save $700 million per year by reducing enrollment.

The money will go to fund “transitional kindergarten” programs for 4-year-olds who are no longer eligible for kindergarten.

Critics say the cost of SB1381 will end up exceeding the savings, while supporters say it is cost-neutral.

The state Department of Education says about 100,000 of California’s 430,000 kindergartners start before their 5th birthday.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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