Geneva County Pre-K Program Sign-Up Day

By: Mike Gurspan
By: Mike Gurspan

One might describe it as a lost weekend for more than 100 parents in Geneva County. Lines were long and tempers short for the sign-up at a state sponsored pre-k program.

Kecia Evans is one of the lucky ones'. She received the last slot for her child to be enrolled in a pre-k program beginning in August.

From Friday afternoon until Monday morning, more than 100 families camped outside the Sandbox Daycare to get their child in next year's class.

It was on a first come basis. There was only room for 18 four-year-olds.

"I had my mother, husband, and myself; we all took turns in line so we wouldn't lose our place,” Evans said.

Former Hartford Police Chief Greg Adams was able to get his son enrolled.

Over the three days, lines were long. It was hot and tempers got short.

Beth Mitchell, owner of the Sandbox Daycare said, "We got our child in, but there were many who couldn't get a slot. And, they are good friends of us."

When you have folks in long lines over 60 or more hours, it creates a dangerous situation for all.

Geneva Police Dept. Chief Frankie Lindsey said, "We had people closing off the road, sleeping on mattresses out in front of the facility. It created a dangerous situation."

Several officials close to the pre-k enrollment hope that a lottery selection process can be used in the future.

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  • by Pre-K Mom Location: Geneva, AL on Jun 4, 2008 at 07:26 PM
    I was also one of the parents in line on Friday night. There was some verbal confrontation, but it was controlled in the best way possible. Once Ms. Mitchell arrived she spoke w/all parents and got opinions and suggestions. We ALL agreed on drawing names and that was that. Once names were drawn, the rest of the weekend was great. The parents all got together, grilled, socialized and even brought the children around to join the fun. There were definitely not any harsh words spoken at this point. We were all very proud to be able to get to know the families of the children our own child will be growing up with. I thought it was awesome to see the importance of early education to all of the parents and grandparents as well. As said in the above comment, the facility was open so that we could use the refrigerator, restroom and air conditioning. There was no one with mattresses in front of the facility. It was not unsafe or we as parents would not have been a part.
  • by geneva resident/parent Location: geneva alabama on Jun 3, 2008 at 07:44 PM
    I can't believe how out of hand all of the talk has gotten. The majority of the things being said are not even true. Although tempers did flare a little bit on friday night, it was not nearly as dramatic as it is being made out. The situation was handled in the best way that it could be. And people were not sleeping on mattresses outside. The owner of the daycare was actually nice enough to open one of her buildings so we could use the bathrooms and air conditioning. That is where some of us put our mattresses. Not outside. So all of the misquotes and talk are actually more harmful than anything that happend friday night.
  • by Pre-K mom Location: Geneva on Jun 3, 2008 at 12:57 PM
    I actually kinda enjoyed myself. We got to spend time with parents whom our children will be classmates and grow up with. The camping out was somewhat like a great big slumber party. We laughed, ate like kings and queens and just hung out for the weekend. Yes, there were lots of words flying Friday night but after that we were all cool with one another. I do agree Geneva needs an additional Pre-K program.
  • by Another Geneva Mom on Jun 3, 2008 at 10:05 AM
    The only time it got bad was on Friday night. The rest of the time it was not that bad. In fact, I really got to know the other parents really well. And, yes, Geneva definitely needs another quality pre-K program!
  • by Pre-K Parent Location: Geneva, AL on Jun 3, 2008 at 09:03 AM
    It was on a first come basis but their were 25 children represented & it was going to be a race to see who could get a number. So "we the parents" decided it would be best to put our childrens name in a hat & draw to see what # they got. All parents agreed- if not they would not have put the names in the hat in the first place! Once you received #'s 1-18 you could not leave the daycare property without a parent or grandparent present to represent your child. You had 18 families that camped out from Friday night to Monday morning @ 8:00. Tents outside & air matresses inside. To me this shows exactly how important early eduaction is to our children. I agree something needs to be done but I do not think a Lottery is the solution! With all that being said I would like to say that I feel as though the situation was handled the best way possible.
  • by Geneva Mom Location: Geneva, AL on Jun 3, 2008 at 07:07 AM
    There were not 100 families camping out. Only around 20, and the owner doesn't have a child in the program (someone misquoted her). It was a bad situation but this article makes it sound much worse than it actually was. P.S. Geneva needs another quality Pre-K program if anyone is interested.
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