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Families may get a year reprieve on school start

I heard that the state is going to change the age for beginning school in Oregon from 6 to 7. Is that true, and what's the thinking on that?

— Sandra, Medford

Slow down a bit, Sandra. First of all, it's a measure still being considered by the Legislature but not yet approved. It also is unlikely to result in a big change for most students.

House Bill 3029 would change the compulsory age of attendance for students from 6 to 7, but a student would still be expected to begin school at 6 years of age unless his or her family requests in writing a one-year delay "for the purpose of better meeting the child’s needs for cognitive, social or physical development, as determined by the parent or legal guardian."

That would put the decision in the hands of parents whether to enroll their child in school at age 6 or 7. That essentially would move the compulsory age for starting school from 6 to 7, but would not affect families that want to continue starting their children at age 6.

By the looks of it, the measure appears to be on its way to passage. The House voted 58-0 April 20 to adjust the current requirement that students begin school if they are 6 on or before Sept. 1 of the school year that begins in that fall. Your question is timely, Sandra, because the state Senate Education Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 23, in Room HR C of the state Capitol.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.