Zeroing in on a new system: a postscript

I have to apologize for leaving out a rather important detail of the staff’s proposal last night (that’s what I get for trying to get a recap posted instead of sleeping!). When I read over last night’s post, I realized that I mischaracterized Option B.
It’s true that Option B is very similar to Option A in terms of the order of preferences: sibling preference is first, then PreK applicants, then local preference, then CTIP (go back to last night’s post for a detailed explanation of this acronym). However, the key to understanding Option B is that the choice round is optional. Before the choice process even begins, families would have received an initial offer from the district for their attendance area school. If they choose to accept that offer and enroll at the attendance area school, they’re done — no lottery, no further action required. The benefits to this approach are obvious: predictability and the idea of “opting in” to the lottery instead of being forced to participate.
The principal challenges with this approach are twofold: first, parents of incoming kindergarteners would have to file some kind of “intent to enroll” application with the district in order to receive an initial offer to their attendance area school — otherwise, how would we know who they are? Second, as the PAC and PPS report pointed out, wouldn’t popular schools completely fill up with children from their attendance area, locking out others who would like to choose those schools in the lottery round? In the presentation last night, our staff liaison (Orla O’Keeffe) said that the district could choose to set aside some seats at popular schools for the lottery round, but that would affect the predictability of the outcome for families.

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3 responses to “Zeroing in on a new system: a postscript

  1. Hi,

    Rachel, I really appreciate your blogs. I go straight here when I have questions.

    Question 1: So even high demand schools like Rooftop and Clarendon, which currently are not “attendance area schools” would become “attendance area schools” under Option 2?
    Question 2: How would immersion or bicultural programs fit under Option B?
    Question 3: When does the Board expect the attendance areas to be made public?

    Thank you.

  2. it says the school “could choose” to set aside outsider spots for non-residents. that’s a pretty big “if” don’t you think??? it seems to me after all this time, leaving out a detail like that in the plan is CRAZY!!! am i missing something? or, is everyone just focusing on and assuming option a is going to be it anyway, so they haven’t worked through the details of option b. the way it’s written now, option b is just going to lock people out from the popular schools unless we can find housing near the schools. i don’t understand how this achieves any diversity or deals with oversubscription in the popular neighborhood, either. so, i scramble to move near my #1 choice, as do all parents who want it, and then what happens when we can’t get a spot b/c it’s full? where do we go next? all the popular schools will be fulled b/c everyone will have moved to that area and we’ll be left to the unpopular schools unless the popular schools “choose” to reserve spots for outsiders. am i missing something here?

  3. 2011 SFUSD Mom

    Anything which increases predictability is *key*… also, I heard that there might be momentum to change the application date. That would reduce participation in the public schools in this town, and I believe it would actually discriminate against the people who apply to parochial and/or private schools (because of the ensuing conflict in decision dates). You can’t possibly support that as a pragmatic change…