Selma’s oldest pre-school to close

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 6, 2003

The large room that houses the preschool training program at Reformed Presbyterian Church will remain empty this fall, signaling the end to a long-standing Selma tradition.

Knox Kindergarten, one of the oldest preschool programs in the city, will no longer open its doors to students once the new school year begins.

The Rev. Ralph Joseph, director of the school, said in a written statement that the closing is due to a gradual decline in enrollment over the past 10 years.

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Joseph said none of the parents of students from the previous school year indicated they wished to continue enrolling their children at the 61-year-old kindergarten.

There was also an almost complete lack of new enrollees, which gave the governing board no choice but to close the school.

There were only seven students attending the school by the end of May, with a couple of them enrolled half days.

At a fee of $200 a month for full-time enrollment and $100 for half time, Knox Kindergarten boasted one of the lowest tuition rates in the city.

The school was established in 1942 by civil rights activist Dr. Claude C. Brown during the days of segregation, when there was a need for schools for young black children.

Knox Kindergarten managed to survive for several years after desegregation allowed black children to attend kindergarten at public schools.

Over time it eventually became unable to compete with free goverment programs and an increase in the number of home day-care centers.

Joseph held out the possibility that the school could reopen sometime in the future.

He said the board would be willing to consider the option if enough parents asked for the school to resume operations.