A bill (AB 1967) by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza has moved forward this past week. This bill will move the "must be 5 by..." date to September 1st, from the current December 2nd. This bill would take effect for the 2012-2013 school year and is said to possibly impact over 100,000 students.
This bill proposes that those students with birthdays between September 1st - December 2nd, be enrolled in school district sponsored pre-school programs.
It is estimated this change would save the state over 700 million dollars a year due to reduced student enrollment. Half of that would go into supporting the district maintained pre-school programs, and half would go back into the troubled education budget (though don't you start to get the feeling the legislatures will just find another way to take it away from the schools?)
There is a similar bill, SB 1381, written by Senator Joe Simitian, which is essentially the same but phases in the change one month at a time over a period of 3 years.