Columbia County's newest elementary school was christened on the same night that the district's prekindergarten program was axed.
The school board unanimously agreed at its Tuesday meeting to call its newest facility Cedar Ridge Elementary School.
Superintendent Tommy Price said cedar trees on the property inspired the name.
"There's no other geographic or identifying mark that outranks that, so to speak," he said.
The Grovetown school is expected to be completed in July.
The school board also tentatively agreed by a 4-0 vote to eliminate its prekindergarten program for 4-year-olds beginning in the 2008-09 academic year. Board member Roxanne Whitaker abstained because she was concerned that there are not enough private preschools in her district, which encompasses Harlem and Grovetown.
Columbia County has 320 preschoolers in 13 of its 16 elementary schools, while more than 600 pupils attend private pre-K programs that also are paid for by the Georgia Lottery.
Board member Wayne Bridges, who made the motion to scrap the program, said the district needs the classroom space.
Price agreed. "Our slots would be reallocated to the private sector," he said.
Private and public preschools receive state lottery funding.
Bridges also said that a controversial pre-K lottery at River Ridge Elementary School influenced his desire to scrap the program.
The district had scheduled a redrawing at River Ridge because some parents complained that people who folded their entry cards received an unfair advantage at the March 22 drawing.
The board halted the redrawing, however, so it could hear from parents who were caught up in the controversy.
"If a folded card was a problem, why was not the drawing stopped when the first folded card was put in the box?' Shawn White asked the board members Tuesday.
Lisa Hernandez said parents were told at the drawing that it did not matter whether they folded their cards.
After the meeting, she noted the absence of some parents.
"Where were the people that complained that it was unfair? Not one of them showed up," she said.
Cynthia McTaggert, whose child is ninth on the waiting list, said the children who were selected in the lottery should keep their spots.
"This is a very challenging situation. There's no best answer," Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said.
On Friday, the board voted to let the results of the drawing stand, though an investigation into the drawing continues.
In other board items Tuesday, The superintendent said the additions at Lewiston and River Ridge elementary schools are on schedule and that the district is in the process of getting approvals for the new high school on Chamblin Road before the project can be advertised for bids. He said the school could be completed on schedule if the site is turned over to the building contractor by October or November.
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