We lived in Winnie, TX during Hurricane Harvey and we weathered the storm in Beaumont, TX. It was very stressful because my daughter was in Winnie during the storm and it was a really bad one! We lost our home in Winnie and we had to move to Electra, TX. Because of the hurricane I was able to enroll my son into the PreK program in Electra (because they could not turn us down because of my income).
I completely understand that Prek is not mandatory in the state of Texas. I also understand that you have to meet certain guidelines in order to enroll your child.
When I enrolled my son into school last year the principal told me that he always had ways around getting a child enrolled into school. He told me since we evacuated from Hurricane Harvey he could not turn me away from the school. He also said since my electricity had not been turned on in my new house that we also qualified because we were technically “homeless”. Not once did he tell me that I would have to reenroll him the next year or that he may not qualify to be in school the next year.
His teacher also seen some actions and behaviors that worried her and she asked for him to be tested. The testing showed he did not have Autism or anything severe enough for him to be in special education. They did find that he had emotional trauma from the hurricane (losing his home and moving away from his sister and other family). They also said he had some issues with speech that would work itself out with him being in school.
At the end of last year the teacher informed us that he would not need to fill out the paper work to be enrolled for the next year. A week later we were told that although he was enrolled for next year he would need to fill out some forms.
Earlier this week I received a call from the admin stating I forgot to answer some questions in the paperwork and asked me about my income. She said that they were reviewing our application for the upcoming year and in a couple days would let me know if my son qualified. She hung up the phone before I could ask her any questions, but I had hope he would be ok.
Then yesterday she called me back and informed me my income was to high for my son to be accepted back into school. I was not happy and the principal got on the phone and said that the teacher misspoke to me and the principal would never had led me on to think my son would be allowed back into school next year. He told me since he did not know my financial situation he could not have anticipated my son not being accepted. I told him yes he did because I made it clear when I enrolled him last year.
After I hung up the phone the admin called back and talked to my husband. At that time she said she needed copies of my paycheck stubs to ensure they had not made a mistake. She told my husband that if we had enrolled him into head start that he would have been accepted back this coming year. He told her that the principal never told us that was an option!
I called the Texas Board of Education to see if they could lead me into the right direction of someone who could change the principals decision since he said there was no one else I could talk to. Now I have to wait for a phone call back on Monday.
How can you enroll a child into public school and then kick them out because there parents are barely over the income threshold. I feel once a child starts public school they should always be accepted and should not be turned down for any reason. What happened to No Child Left Behind. It would be a huge injustice for my son to have to be out of school for the year. I think PreK should be available to all children equally and not just to those who are on government assistance (they have head start for that). If no child should be left behind then why are middle class children being deprived of an education because their parents are working hard not to be on government assistance.
Have you had to deal with anything like this?