Houston pre-k registration to end Friday

Telegraph staffMarch 14, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Pre-kindergarten registration in Houston County has picked up in its final week, after the process was tweaked because of low turnout.

“It’s gradually creeping up there,” said Cindy Flesher, Houston County schools executive director for elementary operations. “All along, I’ve had this feeling these last several days would be busy.”

Because the number of students registered for pre-K by the end of last week was only 500 of the projected 1,300, parents have been allowed to register any time this week instead of at pre-set times based on particular schools. By the end of Wednesday, 843 students were registered, according to Flesher.

Registration ends Friday. The students will be entered into a computer system for a lottery drawing. Parents will be notified of whether their children were accepted or are on a waiting list, according to a news release.

It’s the first time parents are registering at the new office in the Bert Rumble Complex at 303 S. Davis Drive in Warner Robins. Previously, parents registered their children at the particular school.

Officials staffed the office with extra workers in preparation for its first big registration event, which began Feb. 19.

“I thoroughly anticipated having some angry people,” who had gone to the school instead of the central registration office, Flesher said. “We have not had that.”

Flesher will replace Linda Horne as assistant superintendent of school operations for Houston County schools when Horne retires in May.

She said the slow turnout is more likely a characteristic of parents getting used to the lottery. Years ago, parents rushed to register because it was a first-come, first-served system. It has taken a few years for parents to realize it doesn’t matter when they arrive because they all have an equal chance in the lottery.

“There’s not as much of concern about getting there before anyone, but I think now we’ve gone too far the other way,” Flesher said.

Flesher said the lottery will go on as scheduled for students who are registered by the end of Friday. Any of the remaining 990 slots will be given out on a first-come basis. Anyone else will be placed on a waiting list.

The pre-kindergarten registration at the new office has been good training for this summer’s registration for all other grades. Any students new to the school system or school zone must register at the new location.

When registering, parents must bring their photo identification; their children’s birth certificates; custody papers if applicable; lease or mortgage papers; a second proof of residence, such as utility bills or vehicle insurance; Social Security cards; ear, eye and dental screenings; immunization certificates, and proof of eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, PeachCare or food stamps. Parents must also sign an agreement to participate in parent workshops and monthly parent activities.

For more information, visit www.hcbe.net/centralregistration.aspx.

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 256-9751. To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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