Thursday, March 23, 2006

Update on Bomkamp Story

This blog has been following the story of Alison Bomkamp for the last few months. Alison is a Kentucky first grader who skipped kindergarten. Since the state of Kentucky only funds half day kindergarten, the Bomkamp family received a bill for half the cost of Alison's first grade education, or $3,000. The Bomkamps refused to pay (after all, Alison is saving the district money by taking 12 years to go through school instead of 13), and the case got a lot of media attention. As a result, the district waived the fee for the Bomkamps, but asked for future guidance from the legislature on this issue.

I'm happy to report that the Kentucky legislature passed, unanimously, a bill clarifying that children who skip kindergarten are still eligible for the free public education Kentucky provides its other young citizens. You can read an article on the news, "House Passes Funds For Gifted" in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Shauna Bomkamp, Alison's mom and an occasional reader of this blog, notes that Alison is enjoying school and doing well academically. "It's a battle, obviously, but if more parents would just be willing to speak out we can initiate change!" she says. I think we can be as unanimous about that sentiment as the Kentucky legislature was on this bill.


Getting down to business said...

I can't get over how the school district actually tried to charge the family for this! If anything, the school should be paying the family $3K as they saved the school district that half year of K - did the parents ask for that $3K? Now I'm not really into the parents getting money here, mind you, as then it could make lots of parents try to force their children to skip K just to make $3K from the school district, but I do think it bizarre that the school pulled this stunt and am not in the least surprised to see they didn't get away with it.

Laura Vanderkam said...

It is pretty amazing. But if the state reimburses for education costs, then it makes sense that the district didn't see the Bomkamp's decision as "saving" them money. The district gets paid based on how many days a child spends in a seat. There is no incentive to move the child along quicker, as then there's less $$ coming in. It's a rather perverse set-up, but the ridiculous nature of this story occurred because the funding comes from the state level, but decisions get made at the local level.