McCamey Parents Fight To Expand Enrollment For District's Pre-K Program

McCamey Parents Fight To Expand Enrollment For District's Pre-K Program

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

MCCAMEY - It was the first day of school for many people, but not for 4-year-old Jacob Rubio.

That's because McCamey's Pre-K program is currently only open to those who meet federal requirements, which include being financially disadvantaged, not knowing English, or having some other special case.

Tori Rubio's son doesn't fit the bill. And despite attending a "Head Start" program, he isn't guaranteed a slot. Now, Rubio, like other parents are frustrated.

"If a family of five can only make 25,000 dollars a year to get into the program, how do business owners get into the program? That's where the town is in a complete uproar," she explained. Her Facebook page showcases a thread full of angered parents and those who claim they only missed the cut by earning a measly $40 or $80 too much.

Jacob is a fourth generation Badger who's sister got to attend the program two years ago. At that time there hadn't been enough students who met the eligibility requirements, so the district shed policy and made it first come-first serve. The 2013-2014 school year was a different story. They had 30 students who were eligible and therefor had to open up another class in the evening. This year, there are only a few spots left.

"It was a shock, but I was okay with it because I was going to do anything and everything I could to make sure that my son got an education,"

Rubio even offered to pay tuition to get her kid in.

"I was told money will not be accepted and that I needed to take my child to Crane, Rankin, or Iraan school district because they were not turning children away," she said.

Mccamey ISD Superintendent Jan Hunt said they only suggested parents look at different options there in case those districts have open enrollment.

But Rubio said driving there is not an option for her. She also expressed concern at the district not keeping up with their potential demand.

"We knew the oil boom was here. We knew we were gonna be getting more children in our area. Why didnt' we step up to the plate as a district and get those teachers in?" Rubio asked.

But Hunt said there's no way of predicting how many kids to expect. Either way they've only ever had one teacher for the job. They also decided to keep it that way because they didn't believe it was time to spend resources on hiring another one.

Hunt said the district is continuing to have mandated procedures in place so all parties are treated fairly.

She also urges parents to check back in after September 1st to see if there are any unfilled spots

But Rubio said that just seems like the students are getting the short end of the stick.

"We used to focus on the children, we used to make sure that everybody got a fighting chance. We were the fighting badgers and we had that fighting rally behind us, and now we don't, we just hands off," she said.