Too many unanswered questions have prompted the Columbia County school board to delay any decision about eliminating or scaling back the system's prekindergarten program in 2008-09.
The board agreed at its Tuesday meeting to ask a representative of Bright From the Start, which oversees Georgia's pre-K program, to meet with them before moving forward with the proposal.
School officials have considered reevaluating the program for a couple of years, but interest increased after a controversial pre-K drawing at River Ridge Elementary School in March. Parents complained that school system employees gained an unfair advantage in the drawing by folding their entries.
Thirteen of Columbia County's 16 elementary schools have pre-K programs, and each class has 20 students that are selected by a lottery.
"What makes the 20 that get picked more deserving than the 40 that don't? Either give us fair and equitable, or let's do something different," said board member Wayne Bridges.
Superintendent Tommy Price said the school system has 320 pre-kindergartners while the private sector serves about 660 pupils.
"The 320 we're serving might not be the ones who have the most dire needs," he said.
Price said an investigation about improprieties in other pre-K lotteries at other county schools could result in disciplinary action against personnel. River Ridge Principal Sandra Black announced last week that she will retire at the end of the school year.
In other business, the board unanimously awarded contracts to nine vendors for furniture at Cedar Ridge Elementary School, which will open this fall in Grovetown. The cost of the furniture totaled about $220,000.
The board also recognized 26 winners in the Young Georgia Authors and the Morris Museum of Art 2007 Combining Voices Literary competitions. Lauren Williams, a Greenbrier High School junior, was a winner in both contests.
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