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Student is too young, board denies kindergarten admission

Published February 17. 2011 05:00PM

Palmerton Area School Board has agreed to not permit an exception to a school district policy to admit a kindergarten child as a student of the district.

That was the decision the school board unanimously agreed to on Tuesday despite repeated pleas by the child's parents to allow their daughter to attend kindergarten.

Beth Garambone, the child's mother, told the board her daughter turned five this past November and had been a cyber-school student since the start of this school year.

"It's illogical to not accept her in the school system," Garambone said. "It doesn't make sense for her education, and it doesn't make sense for the taxpayers."

Further, Garambone told the board she has "not been given any reason why she hasn't been accepted as a public student."

"The natural progression would be for [the district] to accept her," she said. "Towamensing [Elementary] is a great school, and I want her to be able to go there and not be discriminated against."

In the end, the board chose not to permit an exception to Policy #201 to admit the kindergarten child because the child was under the age of five years old as of Sept. 1, 2010.

That decision raised the ire of Garambone, who vehemently voiced her displeasure.

Board President Barry Scherer told Garambone that because the board voted on the issue, it had become a moot point.

But, Garambone told the board their action would set a precedent, and added that it would cost the district more money in the long run.

"What is the reasoning," asked Garambone. "It's not saving you money."

Scherer reiterated to Garambone that the reason for the board's decision was because her daughter "does not meet the age requirement of five years old before September 1."

Last month, Garambone told the board she enrolled her three children in the district one week prior after she had been cyber-schooling them.

At that time, Garambone said she was dismayed to learn that the district had denied the enrollment of her daughter into kindergarten.

Garambone said that she contacted a representative from the State Department of Education, who told her that the district has no policy that says it has to take her, or that it does not.

However, Boyce said at that time that the policy states that all kindergarten students must be age 5 by Sept. 1 the year they attend kindergarten.

But, Garambone told Boyce she was aware of that policy, and that PDE has clarified that the policy is for new students, and that her daughter is a transfer student.

Also on Tuesday, the board unanimously agreed to approve the 2011-12 budgets for both Lehigh Carbon Community College and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit.

The board approved the General Operating Budget for LCCC, whereby the district's share is $145,061, along with the Capital Budget, whereby the district's share is $61,557.

The board also approved the General Operating Budget for the CLIU, of which the district's share is $21,794.

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