Under the direction of the school system's central office, and against the wishes of many parents, River Ridge Elementary will stage a partial redrawing Tuesday for slots in its pre-kindergarten program.
Let it be the last drawing. Ever.
A couple of weeks ago, we noted that Columbia County officials are open to the concept of removing the pre-K program from public schools. It's been done in at least three other Georgia counties, with the private sector taking over the lottery-funded program.
The current system is plagued with inequities, as shown in part by the River Ridge controversy. Prompted by parents whose children's names weren't drawn, officials question whether educators tried to rig the drawing to gain an advantage for their own children.
Though the investigation into the drawing is "inconclusive," officials are forcing a partial do-over. Parents thrown into the re-drawing - including employees who insist there was no attempt to rig the system - rightfully complain such a re-drawing is unfair.
What a mess. Having failed to provide adequate, consistent direction for how the drawings are conducted, the central office has backed itself into a bad solution.
If the program is moved to the private sector, there will no longer be a need for any drawings; capacity won't be limited, as it is with public schools. And without having to house those 320 or so pre-K students, the county's elementary schools would have more classroom spaces available to help ease overcrowding.
Fact or fiction, the River Ridge probe isn't reason enough to eliminate public school pre-K. But with plenty of reasons already, it ought to be the last straw.
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