'Error' forces Brick to redo preschool lottery; parents furious
BRICK - Courtney Rzeplinski was excited when she learned in April that her 3-year-old daughter would attend free full-day preschool run by Brick Township Public Schools, but her happiness was short-lived.Less than two weeks later, she received another letter from the district with different news. Her daughter was not guaranteed a spot among the coveted 150 preschool openings at Warren H. Wolf Elementary School, because of an "error" with the preschool lottery.In a letter to parents, Superintendent Gerard Dalton said "a portion of registrants had not been processed and included in the original lottery. Therefore, the lottery was not inclusive of the entire group seeking entry into the program."The school district will hold a new lottery for the preschool program Monday, "It's an absolute nightmare," said 31-year-old Rzeplinski.Education: Jackson school board ordered to pay $388K in special education case"I told her preschool that she's in now that we won't need her spot for September," she said. "I may or may not be able to get that back. They said they're waiting to hear from other people first. I let my child care provider go ... and she has since found a new family." Dalton, the superintendent, said about 370 applicants sought 150 preschool openings in the district. The program has roughly 75 additional students with special educational needs who are not chosen by lottery.
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In 2016, the average New Jersey parent spent between $153 and $222 per week on child care, depending on age of the child and daycare certifications, according to the organization Advocates for Children of New Jersey. The high cost of private day care has driven competition for limited preschool spots at public schools, like Brick. The school district's program is funded through a federal preschool grant, and enrollment, like the grant, is limited, Dalton said. Like Rzeplinski, Kelly Greenwald also initially believed her two children were accepted into Brick's preschool program. The 24-year-old mother of two said she was livid when she learned she would have to wait for the new lottery draw to find out if her children were accepted."What if one kid gets in and the other doesn't?" she said. Dalton said the error was "disappointing and concerning." He added that the district is working to make sure the problem does not happen again.Monday's drawing will open to the public and performed at a meeting scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Wolf Elementary, 224 Chambers Bridge Road. News: Brick crash leaves car vertical
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