Nora Yolles-Young enrolled her 5-year-old son Sam in a private school near Kaimuki this year that charges about $10,000 annually for tuition.
Yolles-Young, 42, and her husband receive financial aid that covers close to half the cost and are borrowing some money from a relative.
Still, the couple can hardly afford the remaining tuition expenses and other school-related fees with their $65,000 income, which has to support a family of four. And now the family is even more strapped for cash: Yolles-Young’s husband, Scott Young, recently got laid off from his job at the University of Hawaii.
“We don’t have a lot of extra nest-egg money to play with,” Yolles-Young said. “And that is just the way it is — we’re no different than a lot of people dealing with this funky economy.”
But when it comes to Sam’s schooling, the family doesn’t have much choice but to pony up.
Sam was born in the middle of August in 2009, meaning he missed the new kindergarten age cutoff by only a few weeks. A law that the Legislature passed in 2012 moving the cutoff from Dec. 31 to July 31 went into effect this year, barring Sam and another 5,800 or so kidsfrom entering public-school kindergarten.
From now on, families with “late-born” children such as Sam have to resort to other options. And contrary to what advocates of the new kindergarten cutoff age pledged when justifying the change, those options are few.
Photo Credit: PF Bentley for Civil Beat