Houston school registration office deals with last minute crunch

jmink@macon.comJuly 31, 2013 

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A weary Mary Gluecker rubs her eyes as she waits for her daughter to register granddaughter Abigail Proctor, 10, for the coming school year. It was the second time the family had been to the Houston County central registration office in as many days.

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WARNER ROBINS -- Just as students line the hallways during their first day of school, many Houston County parents stood in lines Wednesday to register their children for classes.

For the first time during the start of the school year, Houston parents are registering their children in one place -- the central registration office on South Davis Drive. Before, parents would register their children at each individual school.

Some parents claim the new registration process takes too long, but others say they like central registration. School officials say while the wait has reached a maximum of three hours this week, it’s still better than the former process.

Even though the office has been open since January, many parents wait until the last week of summer break to register, which contributes to the long lines, registration workers say. The average wait time on Wednesday, the day before school started, was about an hour to an hour and a half. Last week, the wait time was about 30 minutes to 45 minutes, said Valerie Noah, central registration secretary.

By Monday, workers had registered 2,171 students in July. In June, about 436 students were registered -- about that many were registered in one day this week, Cindy Flesher, assistant superintendent for school operations, said during a board of education retreat Tuesday.

Noah recommends parents register earlier in the year.

“It’s kind of like Christmas time. When you wait to go shopping at Christmas Eve, you’re going to be waiting in line,” Noah said. “The closer you get to school, the longer your wait time is going to be.”

Furthermore, the wait was extended for many parents who did not bring the proper paperwork. Several neglected to bring a copy of their mortgage or lease -- parents must bring two proofs of residency, and one must be a mortgage or lease agreement, Noah said.

Extra workers are on hand to help ease the process during its busiest time, but several parents complained about lengthy waits.

“Working people, like me, have to work in the afternoon, so you have to get it all finished in one day,” said Kansas Tippin, of Warner Robins, adding she had been waiting for 45 minutes, and several people were still in front of her.

Herbert Moody, whose son is transferring to a different school within the district, said he prefers the former registration system.

“It was a lot simpler; it was,” he said. Now, “it’s slow and drawn-out.”

Still, not all parents were frustrated with the system. Even though she had to fetch some paperwork that she forgot to bring, Dorothy Moore, of Warner Robins, said she preferred the new process.

“It’s been going pretty good,” said Moore, who was registering her granddaughter. “We haven’t had to wait that long -- maybe 20 minutes.”

Officials opened the office to give parents a more streamlined registration process. Before, parents with multiple children often had to visit different schools and gather different paperwork to register their kids, Noah said.

“We wanted some consistency across the schools,” she said.

For a list of required items for registration, visit www.hcbe.net/central-registration.aspx.

 

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