Parents face Black Friday-type lines to register for Pre-K

It was an unusual sight outside the Cabot Public Schools' administration building Saturday.

Hundreds of parents lined up overnight to register their kids for Pre-K.
"Everybody told me if you want to get in there you have to show up really early," said parent Heather Bickerstaff. "Sure enough, I showed up at 4:00 a.m. and the line was already wrapped around the building."
Bickerstaff said the lines looked like something she'd see on Black Friday.
"People had their chairs set up all the way around the building, bundled up in blankets, layers, some people had heaters, sleeping bags," Bickerstaff described.
Pictures posted online beginning at 5:08 a.m. Saturday show people on the sidewalks surrounding the building.
Parents braved the freezing temperatures with blankets and sleeping bags, waiting for the first come, first serve registration that began at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.
Tina Kimbrell, Cabot schools director of federal programs, said parents arrived as early as 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"We don't know year to year what this particular morning is going to bring," Kimbrell said.
Because Pre-K is not state mandated or funded, it's up to the individual school districts if they want to provide it and how they will register students.
There are only 260 slots available for Pre-K spread out across multiple schools.
But many parents, like Heather Bickerstaff, aren't happy about the way the school does registration.
Bickerstaff said she was warned by parents and school staff to get there several hours early in order to get a spot.
"There's got to be a better way. Doing it online, or maybe if they're going to do it this early when it's so cold outside, go inside a gym," Bickerstaff said. "I don't know, but having to be there at four in the morning and below freezing temps, it's just not good."
After all the waiting, only about 230 of the 260 spots were actually filled.Bickerstaff said the wait was worth it to make sure Ethan has a spot, but hopes the district will find a better way of registering students.