Access to Kindergarten: Age Issues in State Statutes
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Access to Kindergarten: Age Issues in State Statutes

January 2013


This ECS StateNote documents how state lawmakers have addressed kindergarten-related age issues, including compulsory school age, kindergarten entrance age, early entrance to kindergarten, skipping kindergarten and kindergarten exemption.

Compulsory School Age Kindergarten Entrance Age Age Exemptions / Waivers Child Must Attend Kindergarten District Must Offer Kindergarten District Offering Exemptions / Notes

Alabama

Age 6


Notes/Citation: 16-28-3

Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: 16-28-4

Opt-Out: Age 6, parental waiver


Notes/Citation: 16-28-3

No

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: Admin Code: 29051.01

Not specified in statute


Alaska

Age 7


Notes/Citation: 14.30.010

Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: 14.03.080

Not specified in statute

No

No

Not specified in statute


Arizona

Age 6


Notes/Citation: 15-802

Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: 15-821

Not specified in statute

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: 15-703

Local governing board may file an exemption claim with the department of education to be exempt from offering kindergarten. If districts offer full-day kindergarten they must let parents choose between full- and half-day programs.


Notes/Citation: 15-703

Arkansas

Age 5


Notes/Citation: 6-18-201

Age 5 on or before August 1


Notes/Citation: 6-18-207
Opt-out: Age 5, parental waiver

Any 6-year-old child who has not completed kindergarten must be evaluated to determine placement in kindergarten or first grade.
Notes/Citation: Rules And Regulations Governing Standards For Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools - 11.04

Yes


Notes/Citation: 6-18-207, 6-18-201

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: Rules And Regulations Governing Standards For Accreditation of Arkansas Public Schools - 11.04

Not specified in statute


California

Age 6


Notes/Citation: §48200

Age 5 on or before November 1 (2012-13)
Age 5 on or before October 1 (2013-14)
Age 5 on or before September 1 (eff. 2014-15)


Notes/Citation: §48000
Opt-in: Age 5, district decision - if governing board determines it is in best interest of child.

Any child with a birthday falling between the previous December 2 cutoff date and the new cutoff in any year may be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program.
Notes/Citation: §48000, §48005
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §48000

Not specified in statute


Colorado

Age 6 on or before August 1


Notes/Citation: §22-33-104

Age 5 on or before a district's official count date


Notes/Citation: §22-32-119; 301-39:2254-R-5.00

Opt-in: Age 4, gifted & talented


Notes/Citation: §22-20-104.5; 301-8:2220-R-12.08

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §22-32-119

Not specified in statute


Connecticut

Age 5


Notes/Citation: §10-184

Age 5 on or before January 1


Notes/Citation: §10-15c
Opt-out: Age <7, parental waiver

Opt-in: Age <5, local board decision
Notes/Citation: §10-184, §10-15c

Yes

Yes - Half Day

Not specified in statute


Delaware

Age 5


Notes/Citation: §2702

Age 5 on or before August 31


Notes/Citation: §2702

Opt-in: Age <5, gifted & talented, local board decision


Notes/Citation: §2702

Yes


Notes/Citation: §2702

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §1049

Not specified in statute


District of Columbia

Age 5


Notes/Citation: §38-202

Age 5 on or before September 30


Notes/Citation: §38-202

Not specified in statute

Yes


Notes/Citation: §38-202

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §38-2807

Not specified in statute


Florida

Age 6


Notes/Citation: §1003.21

Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §1003.21

Not specified in statute

No

Yes - Half Day

Not specified in statute


Georgia

Age 6


Notes/Citation: §20-2-690.1

Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §20-2-151

Opt-in: Age 5 by December 31, if student was a resident of another state for >2years and was enrolled in kindergarten in that state


Notes/Citation: §20-2-150

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §20-2-151

Not specified in statute


Hawaii

Age 6 by January 1


Notes/Citation: §302A-1132

Age 5 on or before August 1 (2012-13)
Age 5 on or before first day of instruction (2013-14)
Age 5 on or before July 31 (eff. 2014-15)


Notes/Citation: §302A-411

Opt-in: junior kindergarten is provided for children who turn 5 between January 1 and August 1 (effective until July 1, 2014).


Notes/Citation: §302A-411

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §302A-411

Charter schools are exempt from offering kindergarten


Notes/Citation: §302A-411

Idaho

Age 7 by first day of school


Notes/Citation: §33-202

Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §33-201

Opt-out: Age 5, if student has completed 450 hours of kindergarten in another state


Notes/Citation: §33-201

No


Notes/Citation: §33-208

No


Notes/Citation: §33-208

Not specified in statute


Illinois

Age 7


Notes/Citation: 5/26-01

Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: 5/10-20.12

Opt-in: Age <5, local board decision based on readiness

One enrolled in kindergarten, a child falls under compulsory schooling laws


Notes/Citation: 5/10-20.12; 5/26-2

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: 5/10-20.19a

Districts may offer kindergarten for children aged 4-6. Only 1 year of kindergarten will be paid for by the state unless a child is held back after attending at age 5.


Notes/Citation: 5/10-22.18; 5/18-8.05

Indiana
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §20-33-2-6
Age 5 on or before August 1


Notes/Citation: §20-33-2-7
Opt-in: Age <5, Districts must adopt a procedure for parental appeal.

Once enrolled in school, a child falls under compulsory schooling laws.


Notes/Citation: 20-33-2-6; 20-33-2-7
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §20-2-9-7; 20-23-3-8
Not specified in statute


Iowa

Age 6 by September 15


Notes/Citation: §299.1A

Age 5 on or before September 15


Notes/Citation: §282.3

Opt-out: age 5-6, local boards may exclude children who are not sufficiently mature or are physically or mentally unable to attend school.

Opt-out: age 5-6, any child who demonstrates sufficient ability may enter 1st grade by December 31.


Notes/Citation: §282.3

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §280.3

Not specified in statute


Kansas

Age 7


Notes/Citation: §72-1111

Age 5 on or before August 31


Notes/Citation: §72-1107 c

Opt-in: any student who attended kindergarten in another state may enroll in kindergarten.

Opt-out: any student who enrolled in 1st grade or completed kindergarten in another state may enter 1st grade.

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 7, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws


Notes/Citation: §72-1107(d)

No


Notes/Citation: §72-1111

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §72-8212; §72-1106

A district may contract with another district to provide kindergarten for its students.

Districts are permitted to charge parents a fee to enroll their children in full day kindergarten.


Notes/Citation: §72-8212; §72-8255

Kentucky

Age 6 by October 1 (current)
Age 6 by August 1 (eff. 2017-18)


Notes/Citation: §159.010; §158.030

Age 5 by October 1 (current)
Age 5 by August 1 (eff. 2017-18)


Notes/Citation: §158.030

Opt-out: Age 6-7, if enrolled in a private kindergarten-nursery school.

Opt-out: Age 5-6, a child may enter first grade if local board determines he/she has acquired the skills taught in kindergarten.


Notes/Citation: §159.030; §158.031

No


Notes/Citation: §158.030

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §158.100

Not specified in statute


Louisiana

Age 7


Notes/Citation: §17:221

Age 5 on or before September 30
Age 5 by December 30 in Orleans Parish, Louisiana School District


Notes/Citation: §17:151.3

Opt-in: Age <5, gifted per state evaluation regulations

Opt-out: a child may skip kindergarten if he/she demonstrates 1st grade readiness per local screenings. Any student from out of state who doesn't meet the kindergarten requirement must pass a readiness screening.

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 7, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws


Notes/Citation: §17:151.3; §17:221

Yes


Notes/Citation: §17:151.3

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §17:151.3

Not specified in statute


Maine

Age 7


Notes/Citation: 20-A §5001-A

Age 5 on or before October 15


Notes/Citation: 20-A § 5201

Opt-in: any student who enrolled in kindergarten in another state may enroll in kindergarten.

Opt-out: any student who enrolled in 1st grade or completed kindergarten and was promoted to 1st grade in another state may enter 1st grade.


Notes/Citation: 20-A § 5201

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: 20-A, 1001 and 1258

Not specified in statute


Maryland

Age 5


Notes/Citation: §7-301 c

Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: 13A.08.01.02

Opt-in: Age 4, local board decision that a child demonstrates capabilities warranting admission to kindergarten.

Opt-out: Age 5, local board decision that a child demonstrates capabilities warranting admission to first grade.

Opt-out: Age 5, local board decision, parental waiver shows a child lacks the maturity to attend kindergarten or is enrolled in a child care center or Head Start 5 year old program.


Notes/Citation: 13A.08.01.02; §7-301(a)(2), (f); 13A. §08.01.01

Yes


Notes/Citation: §7-301

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §7-101 (e)(1)

Not specified in statute


Massachusetts

Age 6


Notes/Citation: 603, §8.02

LEA: each school committee may establish its own minimum permissible age for school attendance.


Notes/Citation: 603, §8.02

Not specified in statute

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: 603, §8.01

A school committee may petition to have the department of education waive the kindergarten and minimum age requirements in order to avoid undue hardship.


Notes/Citation: 603 MA ADC 8.03

Michigan

Age 6 by December 1


Notes/Citation: §380.1561

Age 5 by November 1 (2013-14)
Age 5 by October 1 (2014-15)
Age 5 by September 1 (eff. 2015-16)


Notes/Citation: H.B. 4513; §380.1147

Opt-in: Age 5 between December 1 and September 1 with parental waiver
Opt-out: Age <9, if nearest traveled road of a public school is over 2.5 miles from a student's residence


Notes/Citation: § 380.1147; M.C.L.A. 380.1561

No

Yes - Half Day

Not specified in statute


Minnesota

Age 7


Notes/Citation: §120A.22

Age 5 on or before September 1

Update: H.F. (630) empowers a school board to adopt an early admissions policy.


Notes/Citation: §120A.20

Opt-in: Age <5, local board may establish a policy for early admission


Notes/Citation: §120A.20

No


Notes/Citation: §120A.20

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §124D.02

Not specified in statute


Mississippi

Age 6 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §37-13-91

Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §37-15-9; http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/ACAD/Kguide.htm

Opt-in: Age 5 after September 1, if a student was a resident of another state where he/she attended at least 4 weeks of kindergarten, he/she may attend kindergarten. The local superintendent must also verify that the student had made satisfactory progress in the previous state.


Notes/Citation: §37-15-9

No

Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §37-21-6

Not specified in statute


Missouri
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §167.031
Age 5 by August 1


Notes/Citation: §160.051
Metropolitan districts can establish a policy that a child must be 5 on or before any date between August 1 and and October 1.

Opt-in: Age 5 by October 1, if a child begins kindergarten in a metropolitan district, he/she can enroll in another district without meeting the age requirement.


Notes/Citation: §160.054; §160.053
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §160.051
Not specified in statute


Montana
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §20-5-102
Age 5 on or before September 10


Notes/Citation: §20-7-117
Opt-in: Age <5, board of trustees decision


Notes/Citation: §20-7-117
No


Notes/Citation: §20-5-102
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §20-7-117
A full-day kindergarten program is required to allow a child to enroll half-time.


Notes/Citation: §20-7-117

Nebraska
Age 6 by January 1


Notes/Citation: §79-201
Age 5 on or before July 31


Notes/Citation: §79-214
Opt-in: Age 5 by October 15, must demonstrate readiness through a district-recognized assessment procedure.

Opt-in: Age 5 by October 15, has attended or will attend kindergarten in another jurisdiction in the current year.


Notes/Citation: §79-214
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §79-728
Not specified in statute


Nevada
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §392.040
Age 5 on or before September 30


Notes/Citation: §392.040
Opt-out: Age 6, A parent must file a waiver if his/her child does not enroll in kindergarten or first grade

Opt-out: Age 7, if child passes a 1st grade readiness assessment he/she can skip kindergarten.

Opt-out: a child who completed kindergarten or enrolled in first grade in another state may enroll in the grade he/she was attending.


Notes/Citation: §392.040
Yes


Notes/Citation: §392.040
Yes - Half Day

If <15 students wish to enroll in kindergarten in a district, the district may arrange other options for those students.


Notes/Citation: §388.020

New Hampshire
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §193:1
LEA decision

Not specified in statute

No


Notes/Citation: §193
Yes - Half Day

Not specified in statute


New Jersey
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §18A:38-25
LEA: may admit children aged 4-5, must admit children aged 5-6. The cutoff date must be after October 1.


Notes/Citation: §18A:44-2; §18A:38-5
Opt-in: Age <5, local board decision


Notes/Citation: §18A:38-5
No
*Children are required to attend Full-Day Kindergarten in Abbott districts


Notes/Citation: §6A:24-3.2
No
*The Abbott District is required to offer Full-Day Kindergarten


Notes/Citation: §18A:44-2
Not specified in statute


New Mexico
Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §22-1-2; §22-12-2
Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §22-13-3; §6.30.5.9
Not specified in statute

Yes


Notes/Citation: §22-1-2; §22-12-2

Yes - Half Day



Notes/Citation: §22-13-3; §6.30.5.9
Not specified in statute


New York

Age 6


Notes/Citation: Educ.§3205

LEA decision. Must be between the ages of 4 and 6


Notes/Citation: Educ.§1712
Syracuse, Rochester and New York City are authorized to mandate kindergarten attendance for all children aged 5 by December 1.

No


Notes/Citation: Educ.§3205

No


Notes/Citation: Educ.§1712

Not specified in statute


North Carolina
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §115C-378
Age 5 on or before August 31


Notes/Citation: §115C-364
Opt-in: Age <5, if student enrolled in kindergarten in another state

Opt-in: Age 4 by April 16, gifted and talented, school principal decision

Opt-out: once enrolled in kindergarten a student can be placed in 1st grade by his/her teacher


Notes/Citation: §115C-364(c), (d)
No

*Initial point of entry into the school system is kindergarten, but a principal may override this for an exceptionally mature student and place the child in first grade


Notes/Citation: §115C-378; §115C-364C
Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §115C-81
Local board of education may apply for exemption. Must be approved by the state board of education.


Notes/Citation: §115C-81

North Dakota
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §15.1-20-01
Age 5 by August 1


Notes/Citation: §15.1-06-01
Opt-in: Age 5 by December 1, enrolled previously in an approved kindergarten

Opt-in: Age 5 by December 1, passes a district-approved developmental and readiness screening


Notes/Citation: §15.1-06-01; 15.1-22-02
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §15.1-22-01
A district may pay the tuition required for its students to attend a kindergarten program in another district.


Notes/Citation: §15.1-22-01

Ohio
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §3321.01[A][1]
LEA decision: Age 5 by August 1 or September 30th, or the beginning of a term (if after September 30).


Notes/Citation: §3321.01
Opt-in: Age <5, if favorably evaluated for early admittance after referral from a parent or educator.

Opt-in: Age <5, if enrolled in kindergarten in another district and transfers.

Opt-out: <6, if favorably evaluated for early admittance to 1st grade after referral from a parent or educator.

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 6, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws


Notes/Citation: §3321.01; §3321.012 (c), (d)
Yes


Notes/Citation: §3321.29
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §3311.29; §3321.05
Districts not receiving poverty-based assistance may charge tuition for full-day kindergarten.


Notes/Citation: §3321.01

Oklahoma
Age 5


Notes/Citation: 70 §10-105
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: 70 §18-108
Opt-out: Age 5, parental waiver


Notes/Citation: 70 §1-114; 70 §10-105
Yes


Notes/Citation: 70 §10-105
Yes - Full Day (2013-14, thereafter)


Notes/Citation: 70 §18-108; Oklahoma School Code 2011 §389, Part E
A district may contract with another district to provide kindergarten for its students.


Notes/Citation: 70 §18-108

Oregon
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §339.020
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §336.092

Opt-in: Age <5, based on local board determination of child's cognitive, social and physical development needs.


Notes/Citation: §336.095
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §336.095
Districts are required to provide at least half-day kindergarten in one school.


Notes/Citation: §336.095

Pennsylvania
Age 8


Notes/Citation: 24 P.S. § 13-1326
Local option (between 4 and 6 years of age)


Notes/Citation: 24 P.S. § 5-503; 24 P.S. §13-1304
Local option

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 6, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws.


Notes/Citation: 24 P.S. §13-1304; 24 P.S. § 13-1326
No

No


Notes/Citation: 24 P.S. §5-503
Not specified in statute


Rhode Island
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §16-19-1
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §16-2-27
No opt-out: a child must complete a state recognized or accredited kindergarten program to attend 1st grade.


Notes/Citation: §16-2-28
Yes


Notes/Citation: §16-2-28
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §16-2-2
Not specified in statute


South Carolina
Age 5


Notes/Citation: §59-65-10
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §59-63-20
Opt-in: Age <5, if substantially initiated a public school kindergarten program in another state

Opt-out: Age <6,  if substantially initiated 1st grade in another state or completed one year of a public school kindergarten program

Opt-out: Age <6, parental waiver may allow a child to postpone school entry until age 6


Notes/Citation: §59-63-20; §59-65-10
Yes


Notes/Citation: §59-63-20; §59-65-10
Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §59-35-10
Districts must offer extended day five-year-old kindergarten programs to all requesting parents. Districts must offer a half-day option as well.

A district may apply for a waiver to opt-out of full-day kindergarten if district does not have available space and the cost of temporary classroom space cannot be justified.


Notes/Citation: §59-35-10

South Dakota
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §13-27-1
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §13-28-2
Opt-in: Age <5, out of state transfer if enrolled in kindergarten
Opt-out: out of state transfer


Notes/Citation: §13-28-2; §13-27-1
Yes
*All children must attend kindergarten before age 7


Notes/Citation: §13-27-1
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §13-26-2
Not specified in statute


Tennessee
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §49-6-3001; §49-6-3005
Age 5 on or before August 31 (2013-2014)
Age 5 on or before August 15 (eff. 2014-2015)
Notes/Citation: §49-6-201
Opt-in: Age 5 years of age within sixty (60) days following the opening of the semester, for schools with semiannual promotions.

Opt-in: Age 5 by September 30, per parental request if director of schools finds the child sufficiently mature emotionally and academically.

No opt-out: a child must complete an approved kindergarten program to attend 1st grade.


Notes/Citation: §49-6-201; §49-6-3001
Yes


Notes/Citation: §49-6-201
Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §49-6-201
Not specified in statute


Texas
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §25.085
Age 5 on or before September 1


Notes/Citation: §29-151
Opt-in: Age <5, district policy for students who demonstrate readiness on the statewide 3rd grade assessment.

Opt-out: Age <6, a child who completed kindergarten or enrolled in first grade in another state may enter first grade.

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 6, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws.


Notes/Citation: §42.003; §25.085
No


Notes/Citation: §42.003
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §29.151; §29.152
Not specified in statute


Utah
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §53A-11-101; §53A-11-101.5
Age 5 on or before September 2


Notes/Citation: §53A-3-402
Not specified in statute


Notes/Citation: 1953 § 53A-1-1001 (D)
No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §53A-3-402.7; § R277-489-3
Not specified in statute


Vermont
Age 6


Notes/Citation: 16 §1121
LEAs have the option to choose any date between August 31 and January 1.


Notes/Citation: 16 §1073
Not specified in statute

No

Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: 16 §821
School boards may pay tuition for kindergarten in another district if the electorate authorizes the  board to do so.


Notes/Citation: 16 V.S.A. §821

Virginia
Age 5


Notes/Citation: §22.1-254
Age 5 on or before September 30


Notes/Citation: §22.1-199
Opt-in: Age 5 by Dec 31, in districts offering pre-K,  junior K, or transitional first grade, after an appropriate readiness evaluation

Opt-out: Age <6, a five year old child may enroll in pre-K or Head Start instead of kindergarten

Opt-out: Age <6, parental waiver for children not mentally, physically or emotionally prepared for kindergarten


Notes/Citation: §22.1-199; §22.1-254
Yes


Notes/Citation: §22.1-199
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §22.1-199
Not specified in statute


Washington
Age 8


Notes/Citation: §28A.225.010
Age 5 by August 31


Notes/Citation: ADC 392-335-010
Opt-in: age <5, local decision based on ability and/or need

Opt-in/out: children from military families are allowed to continue enrollment at the grade level of the state they moved from.

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 8, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws.


Notes/Citation: §28A.225.160
No


Notes/Citation: §28A.255.010

Yes - Half Day

*Full-Day K is being phased in beginning in the 2012-13 school year, beginning with the highest poverty schools. Statewide implementation will be achieved by 2017-18.


Notes/Citation: §28A.150.220; §28A.225.160; §28A.150.315
Not specified in statute


West Virginia
Age 6


Notes/Citation: §18-8-1a
Age 5 by September 1


Notes/Citation: §18-5-18
Opt-in: Age <5, School Board discretion for any child demonstrating sufficient mental and physical competency.

Opt-out: "extraordinary circumstances," a child may pass a readiness test to enter 1st grade without attending Kindergarten

If a student enrolls in school before the age of 6, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws.


Notes/Citation: §18-8-1a; §18-5-40
Yes


Notes/Citation: §18-8-1a; §18-5-40
Yes - Full Day


Notes/Citation: §18-5-18
Not specified in statute


Wisconsin
Age 6


Notes/Citation: W.S.A. 118.15
Age 5 on or before September 1
Age 4 on or before September 1 for 4-year-old kindergarten


Notes/Citation: §118.14
Opt-in: Age <5, districts must prescribe procedures, conditions and standards for early admission to kindergarten and first grade.

If a student enrolls in a 5-year-old kindergarten, he/she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws.


Notes/Citation: §120.12; §121.004
No


Notes/Citation: §118.15
Yes - Half Day


Notes/Citation: §121.02
Not specified in statute


Wyoming
Age 7


Notes/Citation: §21-4-102
Age 5 on or before September 15


Notes/Citation: §21-4-302
Not specified in statute

No

Yes - Half Day
*Statute requires one Full Day program per district


Notes/Citation: §21-3-110
Not specified in statute


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