Earlier this month, Gov. Jim Doyle signed a bill into law requiring all children to complete 5-year-old kindergarten as a prerequisite to being admitted to first grade in a public school.
"This legislation will help ensure that all kids in Wisconsin will get off to the right start in school. The early years of a child's life have a lasting impact and excellent early childhood education can mean better overall development, a smaller chance of being held back in school or dropping out and lower special education costs," Doyle said in a press release.
In New Richmond, officials don't think the bill will have much on an impact.
"There really isn't a way for us to track that," said Morrie Veilleux, district administrator, of the number of kindergarten-aged kids in the district who don't attend New Richmond schools. "We don't require parents to register their home-schooled kindergartners."
However, the number of kindergartners is usually consistent with the following year's first grade enrollment, he said.
"Traditionally the numbers match pretty well from kindergarten to first grade. There's a little fluctuation but not enough to lead you to think a whole bunch of kids haven't attended," he said.
Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, children will be required to complete 5-year-old kindergarten as a prerequisite to being admitted to first grade in a public school, including a charter school. The bill permits a school board and the operator of an independent charter school to establish policies, standards, conditions and procedures for the parent or guardian of a child to seek an exemption from the requirement that the child complete kindergarten. The bill also requires a child who is enrolled in 5-year-old kindergarten in a public or private school to regularly attend kindergarten during the school year.