New families in Collier County face issues getting kids registered for school

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:
A child wearing a face covering gets off a school bus. (WINK News)

As Southwest Florida schools prepare to open their doors safely next week, new families in Collier County are facing another issue.

“Well, besides frustrated, I feel sad for my little guy,” said Cheryl Brown.

It’s three days before the start of school and Brown doesn’t know if the district will allow her grandson Tristan to walk through the halls with his classmates Monday.

“He’s already anxious, you know? He has to wear a mask, he doesn’t know the kids, you know, he’s not gonna go and be with everybody else,” she said.

Cheryl Brown and her family at their new SWFL home. (Provided to WINK News)

Brown and her family moved to Naples in late July from New Hampshire for the warm weather and, hopefully, to save some money.

“It’s like we’re starting to be part of the community. It’s feeling good,” she said.

But they’ve hit some roadblocks when it comes to registering Tristen with Collier County Public Schools.

“What has upset me the most is that there’s been no communication. So I’ve been in review, in review, in review. I check the portal every single day and it’s in review,” Brown said.

Genie Pachini and her family moved here a week and a half ago from California.

Genie Pachini and her family at their new SWFL home. (Provided to WINK News)

“Lower cost of living, our home is beautiful,” she said.

She’s run into some of the same issues as Brown.

“I called for four days straight and I know I’m gonna sound a little bit crazy here, but probably 10 times a day because as time was getting closer I thought, ‘Okay, I need to get some answers,'” Pachini said.

She did end up getting her son registered Friday morning. “He’s very excited,” she said. “It’s a new chapter.”

But as the new school year creeps closer, Brown waits.

“He knows that school is supposed to start on Monday and I’m already aware that if I sent him and he’s not registered, I’m gonna have to go pick him up so I don’t want to do that to him,” she said, hoping Monday is her grandson’s first day of school.

Collier Schools sent us the following statement in regards to their registration system as well as some advice for parents:

As we discussed, this year CCPS – for health and safety reasons during the pandemic and also for convenience – moved registration to a completely online system.

This is also the week before school starts, so now is the big RUSH when people finally decide to start submitting all their required documents. It happens every year, and it is why we always do a major communication push throughout the summer to urge parents to register early. (As background, registration opened in late April.) Typically, there would be lines of people waiting.  At least this year, parents can wait in the comfort of their homes. 

District staff members are answering and responding to the hundreds of calls each day and responding to emails, phone calls, and completing registrations. District staff will be working all weekend to make sure everyone who submitted their registration gets enrolled on time.

There are a couple of things parents can do to make sure their applications do not get held up. 

1) Please ensure your child’s physical is dated within one year of the first day of school. 2) Make sure you upload both sides of the physical form and complete and sign the parent portion.

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