Families fighting to get kids in kindergarten

ENCINITAS, Calif. - Dozens of families in Encinitas are worried that their children will be denied kindergarten in the fall.

Jeannine Brenner kept her son Aaron home from kindergarten this year because he has an August birthday.

"He was a very young 4-year-old. He was still napping two to three hours a day," said Brenner.

Now, she is trying to enroll him in kindergarten at Capri Elementary, their neighborhood school, but because her son turns six in August he is considered age appropriate for first grade.

"He's never been in a classroom,” said Brenner. “He's never been in a public school. He's never had to carry lunch to school. He's never had the experience of participating in a kindergarten classroom where he learns rules, and letters and numbers, and all those basic skills.”

Brenner and at least 70 other families are now appealing the district to let their 6-year-olds start kindergarten. They told 10News they were not aware there would be an enrollment issue if they chose to keep their kids home an extra year.

"There's never been a precedent for this, everybody has just enrolled and gone to school," said Brenner.

A district spokeswoman said normally roughly 30 families will delay the start of kindergarten. This year, there is more than twice that many.

Normally, the appeals process does not begin until August, but because of the increase in families, school administrators will start meeting with families in two weeks.

Brenner said if she cannot enroll her son in kindergarten, she will send him to private school.

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