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Hundreds wait hours at kindergarten signup

Hundreds of parents waited several hours Tuesday at the District 65 administration building trying to get their children registered for kindergarten.

The last-minute announcement by school officials that they plan to cap kindergarten enrollment at some neighborhood schools this fall set off a scramble for parents to make sure their kids weren’t shut out.

Hundreds of parents waited several hours Tuesday at the District 65 administration building trying to get their children registered for kindergarten.

The last-minute announcement by school officials that they plan to cap kindergarten enrollment at some neighborhood schools this fall set off a scramble for parents to make sure their kids weren’t shut out.

The district’s communications director, Pat Markham, says hundreds of people had arrived at the building at 1500 McDaniel Ave. when she arrived before the 7 a.m. start of the registration period.

Markham says the district staff can only process about 45 registrations per hour, but managed to complete well over 300 during the course of the eight-hour registration period.

Registration continues today and tomorrow from noon until 7 p.m.

In an e-mail message to Evanston Now, Angela Allyn writes, "District 65 was clearly unprepared, and if you want to discriminate against working families, that’s a good way to do it."

Another parent said people in line worked out exchanges among themselves to get through the long day. On a school message board that woman wrote that one person went home to walk her dogs and then brought back lunch for friends waiting in line, while another left to pick up a friend’s child at pre-school and take him home.

"Something has to change with our district," she said, "the process is so antiquated. Not everybody can afford to miss an entire day off work."

Markham says the district recently has implemented mail-in registration for families with children returning to the schools, but, for families who are new to the district, officials have to personally check forms used to prove the family lives in the district.

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