Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Welcome to Bureaucratville

Boo Bug starts kindergarten next year. The sibling registration packets (for those with children already enrolled in the school) were available for pickup last week.

They had to be turned in yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Three days. That’s it. Get it in on one of those three days, or pay the penalty.

Not in by tomorrow? Too bad. Get in the regular line, putz, and thank you for stopping by. (The staff at the school is actually very, very nice – but they have to be very, very firm. If they make even one tiny concession on anything, boom. That’s it. All exceptions, all the time.)

I dutifully picked up my package last week, filled out the forms, dropped off one form at the pediatrician’s office and another at the dentist (can you believe it? now we have to have a dental report on file!), vaccinations up to date, birth certificate, blah blah blah.

Today, I picked up the last thing, went over the list twice, made sure my i’s were dotted and my t’s crossed and, trembling, dared to enter {dramatic music} the school office.

Every single time, every.single.time, I have to do something for the school system, I do it wrong at least once. Usually two or three times. Eldest almost didn’t get to go to kindergarten because she was ‘short’ a vaccination. I had to get two (2) doctor’s notes explaining that she couldn’t have the fourth vaccination until such-and-so a date due to the third having been on such-and-such, and fourth could not be given blah blah blah, and I almost missed the Absolute Last And We Really Mean It! cutoff date for registration.

So it did not surprise me in the least when the nice lady stopped dead at my mortgage statement and said, “Um, OK. No. We can’t use this to verify your address. We need a PG&E bill or city water bill to prove residency.”

Because, y’all understand, my driver’s license showing this address on it AND a mortgage statement showing that I pay $X every single month for the privilege of sharing ownership of the Den with the bank is not enough to hint that PERHAPS I LIVE HERE.


Fortunately, she had internet access. I am a ‘paperless’ kind of person and the only reason I brought the mortgage statement in was because it was the only official-like paper statement I had, of any sort, which showed our names and address together. But as she had internet access, I was able to log in to the PG&E website and printed out the last statement and we were good.

Let the record show that, on this day in history, Mother Chaos actually got a child registered for kindergarten without having to quit the battlefield and return another day!

And also, I got it all turned in one day prior to the last day! Which is early! Which is a Personal Best and I am so proud I may have to eat a celebratory box piece of chocolate!!

Now, I told you that so I could tell you this: I felt so sorry for most of the other parents in that office.

“Why can’t I turn this in now?”
“You don’t already have a child at this school.”
“But, I want both of them to go here.”
“But neither of them are registered yet.”
“But they’re siblings!”

Have you ever thought you were in danger of popping like a soap bubble because you were holding in your laughter so hard? Because seriously...busting out laughing right about then would probably have gotten me decked by that (now really annoyed) mom.

“How come you need a birth certificate?”
“We need proof of age.”
“Well, it says right there on the vaccination record! XX/XX/2001!”
“That isn’t proof of age – the doctor’s office doesn’t specifically…”
{Everyone in the office, thinking, Um, a copy of the birth certificate?}
“Sir, we are required to have a copy of her birth certificate on file.”
“@*^&@ this. @*^&@ it!!”

I feel your pain, buddy. But if Captain Adventure suddenly says @*^&@ to me, I’m gonna kick your @**. And I mean that @*^&@ing sincerely.

Why doesn’t this count? How come I can’t use this? Well, I live with my mom so the bill is in her name…but I swear I live there, too…but he turns five on December 3! C’mon, it’s one stinkin’ day!!

Not to mention all the parents who were picking up the packets today (they were available last Wednesday, but for some reason an awful lot of parents thought it was this Wednesday) and realizing they had twenty-four hours to get all the forms filled out, find birth certificates and so forth and get the pediatric and dental forms filled out and signed by their doctors and dentists, or they’d miss the window and have to live with whatever they got from the district.

None of the forms are optional. None can be turned in later. It is all or nothing. And if you goof it up? You have to wait until May and try again. The later you turn it in, the more likely you won’t get into this school, and you’ll have to bus your children all over town.

Welcome to Bureaucratville. Please remember to use blue ink on all your forms, make copies of everything and do not leave the office without a signature on the little slip of paper that says we took possession of the whole thing – otherwise, when it mysteriously goes missing, your child will be sent to the School of the Forgotten, with all the other kids whose parents forgot to do some obscure thing by the 14th of Octember.

Thank you for stopping by, and have a nice day.


21stCenturyMom said...

Your school districit is completely and utterly ridiculous. Between the different pick up and drop off times and the 3 days to get that stuff in they gall me and I don't even have to deal with them!

People with Kaiser must go nuts - Kaiser demands 10 days to fill out those forms. And dental records? WTH is THAT!???

I had kids just in the knick of time, I swear. I'd never make it today with my sanity intact.

Cargo & Lene said...

At first I thought your post was a bit funny and a smidge hilarious - but I was left with a desire to sit down in a corner and cry loudly for all the kids and parents who LOOSE in that gamble about the best school etc.
It is not that way here, actually I was in a tiny school about 1km away from home where my mother had been before (The headmistress, only teacher there, had also had her in school), and I started way before normal age. We would sit around her dining table and eat our lunch, and all kind of domestic activites were carried out in her flat - cooking, sewing, even music lessons. There were two classrooms seperated with a folding door, but mostly it was open and all four classes were mixed, with the older ones helping the younger. If someone had lost their lunch she would supply another - and by the way, she had probably changed diapers on every single one of us! Most of us have grown into very harmonious adults with very fond memories of this "second mother". Mind you, all that has long gone, but still, I pity your children - and you. It must be horrible to live in a country that is so heavily populated and is so divided that getting you children unschathed through childhood almost requires you to be SuperWoman, or some such.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness our school district is not QUITE that insane. We still have to provide all the paperwork, but where you go to school is pretty much decided by where you live. And since this is South Carolina (#49 in the nation for schools, folks! Woohoo, we beat...I don't know, some other state) they are all pretty much the same quality. The schools my kids have gone to have actually been pretty good, in my opinion.

Oh yeah, different drop off and pick up times here too though. Let's just say they have to be at school so early that I am never late for work.

Very Herodotus said...

Ok, I'm confused. What do you mean when you say if you are late with the forms then you have to live with whatever you got from the district? Wouldn't your kids by default go to the nearest local school? It sounds like you're saying the school district will decide what school to send your kid to, and maybe your next door neighbor's kids are at a different school?

froggiemeanie said...

Wow. I want to go register Claire for junior kindergarten right now. And she's not due to start till September 2008. I hope it's not that bad here. Seriously, I'm soooo not the 'ducks in a row' type of person.

Going to have palpitations now.

Anonymous said...

We just went for our first ever kindergarten registration and it was the same thing. Granted, we go to the ONLY school in the district. Why can't I use my credit card bill? Why do I need a birth certificate? They've been telling the whole town for month what we need, yet no one seemed to have it. Then, we had about 100 forms in triplicate, plus a readniness test, hearing screen, vision screen. I don't know that I'm ready for this school stuff.

Dysd Housewife said...

The thing that bugs me, is when they send home 90 forms for different sections of the school, but they all ask for the SAME INFORMATION..It's a freaking SCHOOL, don't you have a copy machine? NOooo..they want me to spend a year filling it out by HAND. ROFL

Amy Lane said...

My school spent 10 weeks (count 'em) in schedule limbo at the beginning of last year--we enrolled 360 or so kids in the first two weeks of school that had not registered before summer vacation, and we did not have enough staff...they kept shuttling kids around hoping that if the same kid (usually special ed or ell, because the bureaucrat gods are funny that way) got ten different schedule, somehow, those class sizes would go from 40 kids to 35 kids per classroom like magic. It was horrible. It takes six weeks for students to settle down, which meant that about the time the kids started feeling in their bones that school was real, it was time for Christmas vacation. Dealing with lower level sophomores for 18 weeks who thought that because they'd seen the man behind the curtain that meant they could kick the @#$% (and I have hs students...they say the words w/impunity) out of the person fronting for the man behind the curtain (moi!) for the (*^ of it...well, it took years off my life.

I can only wish my school district was organized enough for bureaucracy... (my password today was means something, I just know it does...) And Judy? We're 48th...we sort of beat you and...some other state...