School blues

My friend DR has to enroll her daughter Squiss in kindergarten soon and is having trouble deciding between schools. Her recent post on the issue is of general interest, since it brings home the importance of these decisions by describing just a few of the thousand considerations parents agonize over. But the post is also of interest to me personally because Eila and Squiss are good friends, and I’d love them to be in the same school.

However, my current school agonies are different. Want to hear? I know you do! Okay.

So, Eila and I will head back to California in August in time for her to start what they call here Senior Kindergarten and call there Kindergarten. I have to get her enrolled in a school there – never mind what school — that question is beyond me at the moment – just a damn school. And I also need to have her in an after-school daycare, since the Kindergarten day is less than three hours long. And, now, here’s the thing: one can’t register for school unless one lives in the district. If one moves into the district late – as we intend to do – one can register on arrival. But in that case one will be too late to get a place in one of the after-school daycares. Because places in the daycares are limited, and one can only register for them after one is registered at school.

So, in order to get a place in a daycare, Eila must have a place in a school. And in order to get a place in a school, she must be living in the area. What is the solution to this problem? I was told by a school principal that the only solution is to lie – to say one is living someplace in Claremont. So, okay, I found a person who said I could use her address. But lying turns out not to be that easy. I have to prove that come September I will be living at her place, and I can do this only in one of three ways. Either I have to produce a utility bill in my name (god knows maybe two bills). Or I have to produce a legal lease (god knows maybe notarized). Or she and I have to walk into the office together and sign a paper saying we live together. So, okay, I draw up a fake lease. But then it turns out that this person – the one who said I could use her address — she isn’t into perjury. (I am not sure whether it would actually be perjury, since I would have changed my address with the school long before the time when the lease would officially have begun—it could be a real lease that we happened to decide later not to put into effect. Nevertheless, one sympathizes.) And then this whole thing happens again with somebody else: you can use my address, she says, but I can’t allow you to produce any proofs.

Now, add into this mess the fact that there is a particular school that I would prefer Eila to attend and that it has a fantastic after-school daycare on site. So let’s say I approached one of my other, closer friends and asked her to lie for me. Fine, only all of my closer friends are outside the district of my school of choice. So then I would have to apply for an inter-district school transfer. And to apply for an inter-district school transfer, on top of producing the false proofs of residency – this just seems like too much. Suddenly I’ve hit overload: I no longer know what order to do anything in, or even what to do. And then there are other problems: like when I spoke to the school district people on the phone they promised to send me some forms, but I had the suspicion that they didn’t know that Canada was a different country and maybe they wouldn’t put enough stamps on the envelope and, indeed the forms have not arrived.

And you know what makes it all funny? I will be living in Claremont, for sure. I will be a resident. They’re telling me to lie, but the truth and the lie are six of one, half a dozen of the other. Not only that, but I’ll almost certainly be living in the district of my chosen school. Because it’s the same district as the college is in, and I don’t drive.


6 thoughts on “School blues

  1. Have you considered contacting HR at Pomona to see if they have any suggestions or any addresses you can use for residency purposes until you return?

  2. I’m sorry for the bureaucratic bullshit, especially when it concerns your child. I’ve always been surprised at the rift between the relative sophistication/efficiency of Pomona and the lack there of of Claremont. When you say resident do you mean you’ll be living in one of the campus houses? Is it that beautiful cottage in south campus where Pierre Englebert was living when I was there?

  3. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but I have to ask: can’t you use your previous address as your permanent address, until you have a new one?

  4. Thanks all!

    Dana: it won’t work, for various reasons, though it was worth a shot.

    Julie, maybe; I’ve applied.

    Miriam: intriguing! I don’t think HR has this kind of power, but maybe, just maybe, I could shove the whole mess in the dean’s lap! I am seriously considering this.

  5. Your catch-22 is, unfortunately, all too common. May I suggest a private all-day kindergarten? When you add up all the additional daycare costs and hassle factor, it might be cost-effective. Wasn’t Squiss in a Montessori school nearby? Why not enroll your kid there?

  6. Grace, thanks. Eila used to be in the same Montessori. I liked it a lot, and I am seriously considering sending her back. It wouldn’t even cost that much more. The Montessori is around 600$ and I’m expecting the after school care to come to around 450$. The thing holding me back is that I love the school I’ve chosen, and its daycare. But if I can’t solve my problem and get her in there, the Montessori is definitely my second choice.

    When I took Eila down to visit Squiss after she’d been in a Canadian Junior Kindergarten for four months (in which there was official work on reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as homework) I found the two of them — as always — at more or less exactly the same stage of development. They understood math equally well, and they both read to me (from alternating pages of Hop On Pop) equally well. Of course both girls get most of their education at home. Still, this experience made me even more certain that there’s nothing wrong with a Montessori education.

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