Columbia Counties newest elementary school and two other schools that didn't offer preschool in the past now have the opportunity to participate in the state lottery-funded program.
With a lean state budget, Columbia County Schools Superintendent Tommy Price said he anticipated the system would not be allowed more preschool spaces, so school officials have developed a plan to spread out the programs they have.
North Columbia Elementary School had two preschool classes, now one will be shifted to the new Lewiston Elementary School.
"We have three schools that have more than one program and a number of students from North Columbia have been moved to Lewiston, and it is our smallest school," Price told the Board of Education at a meeting Tuesday night.
Stevens Creek and Blue Ridge elementary schools have never had a preschool program, which was the school's choice when the preschool program first began.
"Knowing we're not going to get new programs, the only solution is to cluster what we have now and put everyone on equal footing to be pulled out of the lottery," Price said.
Now parents in the Stevens Creek district may attend registration at Riverside Elementary, and parents in the Blue Ridge district may attend registration at Evans Elementary. Blue Ridge and Stevens Creek children will be offered placement on an equal basis with Evans Elementary and Riverside Elementary students. In the past, their only chance to get in a class was to put their name on a waiting list after the class slots had been filled by a lottery.
Each preschool class has only 20 openings. Grovetown Elementary has two classes and North Harlem has three classes.
"That is because those schools have fewer private centers and they have a number of students they are trying to address," Phyllis Means, the director of elementary programs for the Department of Curriculum Services.
Price said Blue Ridge and Stevens Creek parents will likely be responsible for the transportation of their children to school, because the buses only serve those school zones.
Prekindergarten registration will begin Thursday, March 27, and continue through Friday, April 4. Children must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 to participate in the lottery-funded program.
To register to attend prekindergarten at a particular school, parents (or legal guardian) must live within that zone. A birth certificate, Social Security number and a utility bill showing proof of residence is required.
A lottery will be held to fill the class at each school. A waiting list is maintained once those slots are filled.
"We do not have spaces for every student and it is not required statewide," Means said.
Columbia County's public school system has 320 slots available.
Representatives from private day-care centers which also have lottery-funded preschool classes will be on hand to register those who did not make it in the drawing.
Registration begins promptly at each school, and parents are encouraged to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early because the doors will be closed after the start time. There are several forms to fill out, so school officials advise parents not to bring young children.
Thursday, March 27, 9 a.m., Greenbrier Elementary School commons area
Thursday, March 27, 2 p.m., Westmont Elementary School media center
Friday, March 28, 9 a.m., Grovetown Elementary School cafeteria
Friday, March 28, 2 p.m., South Columbia Elementary School cafeteria
Monday, March 31, 9 a.m., Euchee Creek Elementary School gym
Monday, March 31, 1:45 p.m., Riverside Elementary cafeteria
Tuesday, April 1, 9 a.m., North Harlem Elementary cafeteria
Tuesday, April 1, 1:45 p.m., North Columbia Elementary cafeteria
Wednesday, April 2, 9 a.m., Bel Air Elementary cafeteria
Wednesday, April 2, 9 a.m., Martinez Elementary cafeteria
Thursday, April 3, 9 a.m., Brookwood Elementary cafeteria
Thursday, April 3, 1:45 p.m., Evans Elementary School cafeteria
Friday, April 4, 9 a.m., Lewiston Elementary at Bel Air cafeteria
Kindergarten registration is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 27 through April 4 Parents should register their children at the elementary school for which they are zoned.
Children being registered for Lewiston Elementary should register at the school for which they are presently zoned - Bel Air, Brookwood, Evans or North Columbia elementary schools. To be eligible for kindergarten, children must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1.
To register, parents need to bring a copy of the child's birth certificate, Georgia Certificate of Immunization (Form 3231), Georgia Certificate of Eye, Ear and Dental Examination - also called the 3-Point Test - and a utility bill to provide proof of residency. Parents also are encouraged to bring the child's Social Security number, which can be used as the student's identification number.
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