Updated to reflect comments from Vicki of PPS-SF (see comments section below). Also I mistakenly put the low test score area (CTIP 1) preference ahead of the SFUSD preschool preference so I have fixed that.
Can you confirm that we still need to put our neighborhood school as our first choice if we want it? NO. You do not have to put your attendance area school first if you want it. The district’s algorithm will work best for families if they rank their choices in order of their true preference. Let’s say you live in the attendance area for School C, but you would prefer School A and then School B ahead of School C. If you rank your choices truthfully — A, then B, then C — the algorithm will attempt to place you in Schools A and B before School C. Here are the order of preferences:
- Siblings of current School C students;
- Any students currently enrolled in an SFUSD preschool located in School C’s attendance area who list School C as their first choice;
- Any CTIP 1 residents (people living in census tracts with the lowest test scores) requesting School C as their first choice;
- Residents of the School C attendance area;
- All other applicants listing School C as space permits.
If we put our neighborhood school (let’s say West Portal) as our second choice, and a non-West Portal neighborhood family puts West Portal as their first choice, they would get in before us. Is this correct? i.e., the process would run through everyone’s first choice and try to give as many people their first choice before moving on to considering everyone’s second choice? NO. If you live in the school’s attendance area, you would have preference above any other family who does not also possess a higher preference (e.g., sibling, CTIP, preschool) even if that family listed the school higher than you did.
How is priority in the waitlist process determined – e.g., if you get 0 of out of 7, you are at the top of the waitlist; if you get your 7th choice, you are next on the waitlist; if you get your 6th choice, you are next, so on and so forth? Is there any write-up explaining the waitlist process? In the new system, being on the waitlist doesn’t give you any priority — families will no longer be “rewarded” for listing seven choices; nor will families who list fewer than seven be penalized if they don’t receive one of their choices. Families will be allowed to list an unlimited number of schools if they wish. I don’t think it’s been determined how many additional “runs” of the wait lists will be necessary, but I’ve been told that there will be no restrictions on what families request on their wait lists. Let’s say you list Schools A, B, and C and don’t receive any of them — you can continue in subsequent wait pool runs to list your same choices and the assignment algorithm is supposed to work the same way each time, awarding seats based on the order of preferences listed above.
Do neighborhood families get a preference for their neighborhood school in the waitlist process? Assuming again that West Portal is our neighborhood school, would a non-West Portal neighborhood family who got their 6th choice be higher in the waitlist for West Portal than us if we got our 2nd choice but not our first choice of West Portal. Or would we get preference in the waitlist because we are a West Portal family (even though we got our 2nd choice)? My understanding is no. See above — subsequent wait list runs should consistently apply the order of preferences listed above each time.
Related to the above, if you did not get your neighborhood school, does it give you higher priority in the waitlist — and does it matter if you put your neighborhood school as one of your choices or not? The only things that determine preferences are the factors listed above. Based on my understanding, each of those preferences should be applied consistently in each round of the assignment process. If you do not list your attendance school at all, you could still be offered an assignment to that school IF each of the following conditions are met:
- You were not assigned to any of the choices you listed; and
- Everyone who listed your attendance area school has been assigned either to that school or a higher choice; and
- Spaces remain in your attendance area school.
Does it make a difference if your waitlisted school is one of your initial 7 choices vs. being a totally different school? Again, each run of wait lists will not be dependent upon what you listed in previous runs, and you will not be limited to a certain number of choices (nor will you be rewarded for listing more, rather than fewer, choices). There will be no more “wait pool” or “amended choices.” If you don’t want what you got in the first run, you can continue to request different choices, in any order and in any amount, until you get something you like better. Except in cases of oversubscribed attendance areas (which the staff believes will not be all that common), your “worst case scenario” should be your attendance area school — unless you don’t list it. Even then, you may be offered your attendance area school if you can’t be assigned to any of the schools on your list and your attendance area school is not full.