Pre-K program scrapped

  • Follow Metro

A controversial drawing for prekindergarten slots at River Ridge Elementary School has not been resolved.

However, influenced by the dispute, the Columbia County school board voted Tuesday to no longer offer pre-K options, beginning with the 2008-09 school year.

"We have a lot of fish to fry, and this is one that we could let somebody else handle now," said Wayne Bridges, the school board member who made the motion.

Mr. Bridges said he thought the private sector could meet the district's prekindergarten needs. He said the board would have to study how private pre-K programs could absorb the 320 pupils from county schools.

Mr. Bridges' motion passed 4-0. Board member Roxanne Whitaker abstained because of a lack of private pre-K schools in her district, which includes Harlem and Grovetown. She said she favored doing away with the pre-K program.

Superintendent Tommy Price said he hoped to give a final report on the River Ridge drawing to the school board by the end of the week. He said the findings could result in action against the administrators who oversaw the controversial drawing. He also said the district is investigating possible improprieties at other pre-K drawings.

Chairwoman Regina Buccafusco said the board would not make a decision about a redrawing at River Ridge until it receives the district's report.

Eleven of the 60 cards were folded in the March 22 drawing, and nine of those cards were selected. Of those, six were placed in the drawing by district employees.

"It was not fair. The folded cards had an advantage," Mr. Price said.

A redrawing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, was postponed to give parents a chance to speak on the issue at the school board meeting. The eight people who spoke urged the board to let the results stand.

Tena Fulghum, a River Ridge teacher whose child was selected for the program with an unfolded card, said there was no collusion by district employees.

"I have nothing to be ashamed of. I have done absolutely nothing wrong," she said.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (706) 868-1222, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (90) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
need2knowbasis
0
Points
need2knowbasis 04/11/07 - 09:44 am
0
0
thats a shame

thats a shame

zHolly220
0
Points
zHolly220 04/11/07 - 10:16 am
0
0
It is a shame,that it is the

It is a shame,that it is the kids that will suffer. All 3 of my kids got RANDOMLY picked to go to Pre-K (not at the same time or same year of course),my children now are ages 7,6,4,& 7 mo. I know it was just good luck.I am involved in my kids school and activities,but it shouldn't give me nor anyone else an advatage.My kids school Pre-K registration papers,were folded the same way,the box was shaken really good,and names were picked. If you are at all worried about the drawing itself,then go to the school during the drawings. The teachers were telling all the parents who applied there kids that they could come back for the drawing if they wanted to. You would be amazed at how much the kids learn and they really need it.The work for each grade is getting harder by the year.My daughter who is in 1st grade has to do animal projects which include her:answering 11 questions,a page long- building 3-d habitats for animals and writing a report and give an oral presentation about the project ,to me in 1st grade that seems above there heads.That project is one of the easier ones.Thank goodness she went to Pre-K and learned sooo much early. I am personally thankfull for it.I think it is pathetic that the adults ruin it for these children,whom it could benefit enormously.

tmax72
0
Points
tmax72 04/11/07 - 10:26 am
0
0
That actually poses a big

That actually poses a big problem for the people of Harlem and Grovetown. Atleast Grovetown does have about three different ones were as Harlem only has one. Not to mention most parents are not willing to drive out of their way to and from work to pick up or drop off their children or they have no resources to do that (no car) yes people there are those around here with no car.Then there are the additional costs to the school system for running their buses for the longer routes and the extra time spent in doing so. Public Pre-K in my opinion is needed very badly in this area due to those as well as other reasons. The fairness of it should come down to first come first serve in a computer system all spaces are full then the line is drawn and if there are other places open then a time and place should be set up for people to come and apply. Instead of making the private pre-k's get so overwhelmed with the extra children have the ones that work there send theirs to private instead or go to the ones they are zoned for. Then the issue could be avoided all together but it seems to not matter columbia county has one of the best school systems and compared to Richmond county we are

tmax72
0
Points
tmax72 04/11/07 - 10:27 am
0
0
continued... most desired by

continued... most desired by the parents of that area. You chose to live their so send your children to your schools. Leave us alone!!!!

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 10:34 am
0
0
Ms. Fulghum, Shouldn't you be

Ms. Fulghum, Shouldn't you be in class teaching. If you haven't done anything wrong with your ballot then why are you worrying about it. Why should someone else's child get bumped out when they live in that zone and you don't. I think this was all planned and now I will have to pay for my child to go to Pre-K.

teachingthemasses
0
Points
teachingthemasses 04/11/07 - 10:36 am
0
0
Students who are taught at

Students who are taught at private daycares often are not taught the same as those within the schools. The students who attend within the schools learn school rules and appropriate school ettiquette. I am really disappointed that Columbia County has decided to remove the Pre-K program from within the schools. I truly think that this is a mistake. Have they thought about all the money that has been spent on teacher training, equipment, and the lives it has changed. The students out in Appling have it worse off than those in Grovetown and Harlem. I think that many parents in the rural areas will just opt to not send their children to Pre-K if it is not in the school and it will affect the entire education process.

zHolly220
0
Points
zHolly220 04/11/07 - 10:46 am
0
0
Well I must comment,I did

Well I must comment,I did fail to mention I am in Richmond County,rules must be different. My kids go to McBean Elementary,it is a very good school. I wouldn't want to send them anywhere else.In my oppinion they have the best teachers. (Well the ones I have dealt with).The other staff is great as well. From the lunch room,to janitorial,to front office to P.E Coaches,they all are great. I could go on and on,about the staff at McBean Elementary.I agree I think kids should only be allowed to go to the schools they are zoned for. When my husband and I found the property we have now,FIRST thing we did was looked at the schools zoned for our area.We didn't want to live anywhere ,where our kids would go to bad schools.Hopefully this makes since,lol,I have a habit of rambling on,lol.
Have a Good Day Everyone!

Sigh....
0
Points
Sigh.... 04/11/07 - 10:56 am
0
0
It is a shame, because in the

It is a shame, because in the end the children will be the ones to suffer educationally and the parents financially. I don't think we have heard the end of this yet!

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 11:07 am
0
0
really!- That's good to know,

really!- That's good to know, It's just awful and scary how educator's argue and cause problems and they educate our children. It makes you wonder what our children are being taught.

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 11:10 am
0
0
Since Rive Ridge has been in

Since Rive Ridge has been in the highlights of the news lately anyways, I wouldn't send my children there to begin with. I know for a fact that they are backwards on everything. I have family memebers that go to River Ridge and has had nothing but PROBLEMS.........

CHIEF
2
Points
CHIEF 04/11/07 - 11:26 am
0
0
See you idots, I told you the

See you idots, I told you the board was one of fools and coruption. they do what hurts our children and parents. To hell with us, thanks again you idots for the new superintendent and his gang of money hungry political fools. unite and throw them out now. have you not had enough of the stupid acts by them and their pricipals.

GuyIncognito
1
Points
GuyIncognito 04/11/07 - 11:29 am
0
0
We should all scream

We should all scream conspiracy anytime we don't get our way. I entered the lottery last week and my numbers weren't picked, the numbers that I didn't select must have had an advantage. The district should be ashamed of themselves for not sticking with the drawing as done or at the very least set up a standardized second drawing. Instead they are going to make the children suffer. When is election time?

NotyourDadsBuick
1
Points
NotyourDadsBuick 04/11/07 - 11:36 am
0
0
Just more evidence of shady

Just more evidence of shady dealings in and around Augusta. It must be in the water for those born and bred here.

cobweb
0
Points
cobweb 04/11/07 - 11:55 am
0
0
This makes me angry. One

This makes me angry. One snafu and they scrap the whole public pre-k program? Why not let all Pre-K students enroll in their local elementary school instead of worring about drawing names?

We lost out on the lottery drawing this year and had to scramble to find a spot at a local daycare for my 4 year old. I would have much rather prefered that he be able to attend the local public elementary school with his older brother.

2536
4
Points
2536 04/11/07 - 11:57 am
0
0
Actually, don't YOU mean

Actually, don't YOU mean Columbia County, Myrtle? Richmond county hasn't dropped their Pre-K. And my child is in Pre-k right now. In Richmond you do not have to be zoned for that school for Pre-K and you do not need to be there for the drawing. Some parents do have to work and may be unable to make it do the drawing that is held later on during the day. Everyone has always said how much better Columbia County is isn't it a shame that they won't have Pre-k in thier own schools but only in daycares?

alr55
0
Points
alr55 04/11/07 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Myrltebeach read the article

Myrltebeach read the article again this in Columbia County not Richmond, therefore it is not in Augusta!!

whyme
2109
Points
whyme 04/11/07 - 12:14 pm
0
0
This board is pitiful. When

This board is pitiful. When the parents complained about the school calendar, they didn't want to hear it. They finally offered 3 options, but when the majority chose one, they altered it. Tommy Price even said he didn't think parental input was necessary but it was done to humor everyone. Now this drama. I've personally emailed members of the board about pertinent issues and only Mike Sleeper responded and in a decent manner. My child went to Walden Hall Montessori for pre-k and now she's in the gifted program. So heck on Col. Co.

dthompson
0
Points
dthompson 04/11/07 - 12:20 pm
0
0
fizast.....I'm amazed you got

fizast.....I'm amazed you got any response. I had a major issue with my child and couldn't get anyone to call me back. I was told that the superintendent "doesn't meet with or speak to parents." I am still in shock from that. What are you there for then?

edst4
0
Points
edst4 04/11/07 - 12:25 pm
0
0
My children also went to

My children also went to Walden Hall and both have become A B honor roll students at Harlem High. But it is a shame that Columbia County is doing away with pre-k. I had so hoped with Price leaving things would get better. To the future parents of pre-k you know there is always that option to vote the current school board out when the time comes. Except for Ms. Whitaker of course.

obama4america
0
Points
obama4america 04/11/07 - 12:29 pm
0
0
This is not fair to the

This is not fair to the people of harlem we had just enough so we didn't have a drawing does this mean that schools who didn't cheat are scrapped also please let me know because my son was looking foward to it and so was i.

LynxRHot
0
Points
LynxRHot 04/11/07 - 12:30 pm
0
0
This sounds like a case of

This sounds like a case of much ado about nothing. My children are in Columbia County schools, and neither of them was chosen for pre-k when it was their time to go. They both have excellent academic records. Pre-k seems like nothing more than a glorified daycare. My daughter's kindergarten teacher (who continues to teach in Columbia County) told me that pre-k does not do much for a child in the area of learning. As for the persons who choose to argue that the teachers should have been present for the drawing, keep in mind that removing the teacher from the classroom is lessening the time the teacher has in class with the pupils. If favoritism is shown to the teachers, that's just one of the perks of employment in the educational system.

SilentJ
0
Points
SilentJ 04/11/07 - 12:32 pm
0
0
CETHOMPSON I sent my son to a

CETHOMPSON I sent my son to a daycare that offered pre-k classes from 8-3 here in richmond county you do not have to live in richmond county for your cnild to attend he learned so much and the teachers were great.Let me know if you would like the name of the place.

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 12:39 pm
0
0
SILENTJ- That would be great!

SILENTJ- That would be great! I have a year or two before he actually starts. I thought living in Columbia County was good. Since I have moved here I have heard nothing but problems. Seems like the people that think their crap don't stink always bring problems with them. And I know for a fact that SOME of the people at River Ridge has another side to them besides the side that we as parents are seeing.............

cobweb
0
Points
cobweb 04/11/07 - 12:39 pm
0
0
Honestly, I wouldn't care if

Honestly, I wouldn't care if the children of teachers were given preferential treatment for pre-k placement. It seems a bit dumb to make them send their kids to another school.

obama4america
0
Points
obama4america 04/11/07 - 12:41 pm
0
0
they should just do away with

they should just do away with that schools pre-k program not every one else why should we all be punished for a bunch of retarded people who couldn't play fair

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 12:41 pm
0
0
REPUTATION...................

REPUTATION......................Makes me wonder!!

cethompson
15
Points
cethompson 04/11/07 - 12:44 pm
0
0
NFHATHCER- I

NFHATHCER- I agree........Someone always has to ruin it for others! SAD BUT TRUE!

easy breezy
14
Points
easy breezy 04/11/07 - 12:45 pm
0
0
I agree with

I agree with teachingthemasses. I also feel that every child should have the opportunity to attend pre-k. I have 3 children ages 17,16 and 3. My two older children attended pre-k and we were very thankful to have the opportunity. I was looking forward to my youngest child attending in a few years but the school system has let us down. The board members should be ashamed!

obama4america
0
Points
obama4america 04/11/07 - 12:48 pm
0
0
i'd like to know who to

i'd like to know who to complain to

kudzo-n-roses
2
Points
kudzo-n-roses 04/11/07 - 12:52 pm
0
0
I like the idea of a lottery

I like the idea of a lottery if it is done fairly...in South Carolina your child has to be "underprivileged"in order to be selected. My grandaughter was tested and told she was too smart and that her parents made too much money????? Private pre-K is expensive and her parents are hard working people but average incomes in this day and age are not enough to cover something that should be fairly offered to EVERY child....seems like the underprivleged are privileged in SC.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Kettle donations rise in 2014

After a disappointing showing last year, donations to the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign have risen nearly 20 percent in 2014.
Search Augusta jobs