RISD pre-K plan draws objections by business

‘Open enrollment’ tabled by trustees
Reporter Editor

Rockdale ISD school trustees delayed part of a plan to open up “for pay” pre-kindergarten slots for 4-year- olds Monday after hearing a day care owner maintain the move would hurt existing businesses.

Board members did approve changing the existing half-day pre-K program to full- day but delayed the “open enrollment” approach for further study.

Deedra Jacob, owner of Little Tikes Learning Center, told board members she had surveyed the three largest day cares in Rockdale and all are wary of the plan.

“We’ve all taken a pretty big hit with Alcoa closing and the way the economy is,” Jacob said.

OPEN ENROLLMENT—Elementary Principal Robin Faulkner said, by law, the RISD would first have to fill the full-day pre-K slots with 4-year-olds eligible to attend the federally-funded program at no charge.

Then the plan called for “open enrollment” for remaining slots. “ That would allow interested parents to pay tuition and have the child attend pre-K,” Faulkner said.

Jacob said such a plan might draw “25 to 30 percent” of business from the day cares.

“Is it (going to be) one class of 15 kids?” Jacob asked. “Would you cap it, or would this be a pilot program?

“ You’re probably not going to close down a day care for 15 kids (going to the RISD),” Jacob said. “But if you add to it (in the future), I’d be very concerned.”

‘FEEDBACK’—Faulkner said there are currently 40 students enrolled in the two half-day prekindergarten classes.

“We (the day cares) have met with the teachers and principals and asked them how we were doing,” Jacob said. “We said we’d like to have feedback.”

“You’re not going to make money with this,” she said. “Instead of taking money away from the businesses in town, how about working with us?”

Faulkner will study the situation and report back to the board.

COMMUNICATION—Frequent school administration critic, and former RISD teacher, Alyssa Kubiak Marburger brought several concerns before trustees.

Marburger said she had been contacted by about 120 persons over t he past seven mont hs expressing concern over Rockdale schools.

“People are afraid to communicate with you all,” she said.

She recommended a mechanism for the public to express its concerns anonymously to the board and administration.

Marburger asked why, with school funding in crisis, recent expenditures have been made.

“Why was so much spent on the baseball field? Why did you buy the ‘blue house’ (Bushdale Road)?” she asked.

“Why did you fill a position (assistant superintendent for instruction) that was vacant?” Marburger asked.

In other business Monday, board members hired Rebecca King as director of teaching and learning and employed John Davis as a licensed specialist in school psychology for the Burleson Milam Special Services Co-Op.

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