Monday, December 19, 2005

Update on the Bomkamp Story

Two months ago, I wrote about 5-year-old Alison Bomkamp's saga with the Kenton County Schools in Kentucky. Since Alison had already mastered the kindergarten curriculum, her parents placed her in first grade. But since Kentucky only reimburses districts for half-day kindergarten for 5-year-olds, the school district sent the Bomkamps a bill for $3,000 to cover the difference.

This blog pointed out how ridiculous this was (young Alison is actually saving Kentucky taxpayers money -- she'll take 12 years, not 13 to go through school. If she skips more grades along the way, that's an even bigger savings).

Fortunately, Alison's mom, Shauna, reports that saner heads have prevailed. State Sen. Jack Westwood and State Rep. Jon Draud have introduced bills clarifying that school districts will be reimbursed the full-day school fee for 5-year-olds who place out of half-day kindergarten. The school district has stopped sending their bills to the Bomkamps. And Alison is doing great in first grade. She's in the most advanced math group, has been awarded for excellent behavior and has made lots of friends. "She is truly with her peers," Shauna says -- even if she doesn't turn that magical first grade age of six until March.

The Kentucky Post and the Cincinnati Enquirer have both run stories on this battle.


Mommy said...

This is a very sad tale of how administrators and school boards look at the numbers, not at the kids.

I only wish I could have enrolled my child in first grade instead of kindergarten. I tried to do kindergarten when he was 4.5 years old and heard (yes, this is a quote) "we don't care if he exists until he is 5."

When he was 5, I tried to get him into first grade and kept hearing the monotonous "but he's 5."

Needless to say, he's now creating problems in kindergarten because he's bored. He recently had an achievement test that put him at 7th grade on vocabulary and 3rd grade on pretty much everything else.

One of these days the administrators will have to wake up and realize that this policy doesn't serve anybody. The taxpayers pay more, the parents pay more, the teachers have to deal with disruptive and bored students and the poor kids are so bored that they either lose interest or cause trouble.

Oh, if I could only afford private school......

Laura Vanderkam said...

Oh dear. Please keep us updated on your story. But you're right. This policy serves no one but it's just the way things have always been. And sadly, some people prefer not to rock the boat. I'm glad it worked out for the Bomkamps and I hope it does for you, too.