Broken Arrow parent concerned about pre-k placement

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Story by: Janai Norman
Updated: 8/21/2013 1:02 pm Published: 8/21/2013 12:20 pm

School starts Thursday in Broken Arrow, but FOX23 is learning some parents taking part in the district’s new full-day pre-kindergarten program aren’t happy.

We’re finding out enrollment for the new program jumped to 1,100. It’s so many kids that some aren’t at their parent’s first or second choice school, but at an overflow building at the district. As of Thursday, some still didn’t have a teacher or classroom.

“’It’s okay, momma’s going to get this worked out, you’re going to have a teacher,’ and she’s like ‘I just don’t want to go back to preschool,’” Carolyn Diskey describes breaking the news to her daughter.

Diskey reached out to the FOX23 News Facebook page to tell us she isn’t happy with how her four year old was placed for school.

“I didn’t enroll late, I enrolled in April,” she said. “I got the last choice and I feel there were a lot of parents placed before me that probably enrolled after me.”

The mother of two tells us her daughter was placed at the temporary Oak Crest location all the way across town. And was shocked, along with other parents at orientation Wednesday, to hear things still weren’t right.

“She said we only have 8 teachers, we need 2 more, your child’s in one of those two classes,” she recalls being told at orientation. “There were other people there who looked upset.”

We questioned Tara Thompson, the district’s public information officer, about the confusion that she says is part getting this new, popular program off the ground.

We found out 85% of parents did get their first choice of schools, but with so many enrolled, the overflow building was opened up to ensure students weren’t turned away.

“If they were placed at a site that’s maybe inconvenient or wasn’t their first or second choice, we go ahead and put them at that site just so they have a placement,” Thompson explains.

Pre-K isn’t mandatory in Oklahoma, and FOX23 is finding out sometimes parents decide their toddlers aren’t ready and take them out, leaving an open space to be filled.

“We may be calling those parents right now and letting them know, ‘hey, one of your other choices have opened up, would you like to move over there?’”
While that leaves hope for Diskey, she says the uncertainty the day before school isn’t sitting well with her, or her new pre-kindergartner.

“There wasn’t a classroom yet for her, so it was a really huge disappointment.”

Although Diskey tells us she registered in April, Thompson says registration opened in February and things started filling up quickly.

She tells us it will take a few weeks of school for the pre-kindergarten and their new classrooms to all get settled in.

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