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Adventures in applying for VPK

Dear Miami-Dade School System,

Thank you for allowing me to enter the lottery for the VPK program at a local public school. I realize you made the process extremely challenging in order to weed out those who were unworthy of getting their kids a free quality education. I submitted all my documents on time so now you know I am the type A kind of a parent who will join the PTA, fund raise, create eatable peanut/soy/milk/ fish/egg/gluten/wheat free lunches, make Metropolitan Opera worthy costumes for the school play, and willingly fill out permission and safety waiver slips.

So what if 98 percent of the spots open next year are reserved for siblings. I'm feeling good about having my child's name being picked from a hat. I'm an optimistic kind of a person. If worse comes to worse, i can always sell my other kidney to pay for another year of private nursery school.

I want to point out that I was on line at 5:30 a.m. yesterday to get the form I needed to give to the school. I had found out you were only giving out 50 of the forms a day per site and I am glad I set off at 3:30 a.m. to find the designated registration site. How charming that the closest of the three sites to register was located 75 miles from my house, in the middle of a small forest and accessible only by dirt road. And was it my imagination, or at 7 a.m. - and I swear I heard his - did someone on your staff say, "Release the mosquitoes". How clever of you, State of Florida, to add this extra itchy challenge to getting a child a good education. My tax dollars were well spent on those well-bred extra vicious bugs.

Nine a.m. the doors opened and i got my form, after filling out 10 more preliminary forms, going through a multiple ID check and an involuntary blood donation. I clutched the form closely to my chest as i dodged the thousands of irate parents who would not be getting one.

Why did I wait for the last day you may ask? I was lucky enough to bend down to tie my daughter's shoelace at an elementary school near a friend's house in another school district just two days ago. While bent down I saw a tiny scrap of paper through the chain fence, it was stuck to a pole about 3 meters away at the ankle level. At first I thought it was a gum wrapper but then I saw the Miami-Dade County Swoosh. Under it, in three point type, it said "VPK Sign Up Ends 3-31" I'm a news junkie and i hadn't even known it started. Clever Miami-Dade. Once again weeding out the dedicated parents. Adults with attention to detail are bound to help their children with the homework and speak at career day.

Of course, my career was a little healthier two days ago, before I had to take time off to collect all the materials you needed in order to allow me to enter the lottery. I got the certified notarized letter, the last 10 years of utility bills, passports, birth certificates, immunization and check up certificates, and the hair off the Tibetan yak. Thank goodness Miami has an international airport.

I want to reiterate how excited I am to be in the lottery today. It's only my child's future that depends on it. I am all ready and eager to jump through whatever other hoops you need.

Sincerely yours,

A Miami Mom

P.S. If my lottery card feels a little thicker than the others, it my be that $50 bill that somehow got stuck on there when I was filling it out.