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'Business as usual' for Pre-K enrollment

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Parents still lined up to enroll their children in Clayton County Public Schools' pre-kindergarten (Pre-k) program earlier this week, even though the future is uncertain for the district's accreditation.

"So far, it's been business as usual," said Dr. Donya Sartor, the assistant coordinator for the district's early reading first program and one of the people in charge of Pre-k enrollment. "We really haven't had a lot of people asking about the accreditation issue."

Clayton County parents, who want to see their children enrolled in the school system's Pre-k program, have until March 21 to submit an application. Applications must be turned in at the district's Family Resource Center, 2260 Old Rex Morrow Road, Morrow.

Enrollment applications are being accepted at the Family Resource Center on most week days from 8 a.m., to 4 p.m. There will be four days where the center will be open for extended days, though.

Parents will be able to file an application today, March 13 and 21 at the Family Resource Center from 7 a.m., to 7 p.m. They will also be able to drop off applications from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m., on March 15.

There is room for 560 children in the program, Sartor said. The program is for children who will turn 4 on or before, Sept. 1, 2008.

A computerized lottery system will be used to select students. Those who are not chosen through the lottery will automatically be placed on a waiting list.

There were long lines for Pre-k enrollment at the Family Resource Center on Monday and Tuesday. The number of people coming by to sign up their children has since thinned out. "People began to realize this is a lottery system, and it's not based on first-come, first serve," Sartor said. "It's always really busy the first few days, then it's pretty quiet in the middle of the month, and picks back up right before the deadline."

Parents need to bring a copy of their child's original birth certificate, and two proofs of residency, such as a copy of a mortgage statement or an apartment lease, or a utility bill. The district will not accept telephone, cellular phone or cable TV bills as proof of residency, however.

The parents will be notified by the first week in May if their children were selected for the program. Parents will be contacted to set up a registration appointment. They will need to bring a certified copy of their child's birth certificate; an immunization certificate; ear, eye and dental certificate, a copy of the child's Social Security Card, or a waiver from the Social Security Administration.

The adult, who is registering the child, will need to provide proof of legal guardianship, or custodianship. A parent can use the child's birth certificate for this purpose, if it lists the names of the child's parents.

Proof of residency will also have to be provided during the registration process.

The Pre-k program will be offered at 22 of the district's 35 elementary and primary schools. Parents seeking information about the Pre-k program can call a special hotline, which is available at: (770) 472-7200, ext. 35555.