Rochester schools Superintendent Bolgen Vargas says he expects the State Legislature to pass a bill that would let the Rochester school board make kindergarten mandatory. The school board would have to follow up with its own legislation.
Kindergarten attendance is mandatory for 5 year olds in 11 states, but not New York. New York State Assembly member David Gantt and Senator Joe Robach have introduced the Rochester bills in their individual bodies.
The law would apply only to the Rochester public schools, not private institutions or home-school instruction.
Vargas is eager to have stronger enforcement of student attendance, and good attendance habits begin in the earlier years. But many Rochester kindergartners miss more than 20 days of school, Vargas says.
Considering that the majority of city kindergartners enter school with limited vocabularies, school officials say they are already behind academically before walking in the door.