CLASSES IN SESSION; THOUSANDS IN LIMBO: Parents frustrated as children languish on waiting lists
"School opened with almost 10,000 students - nearly 18 percent of the student body - still on waiting lists, trying to get into different schools than they were assigned. Some, like Mayes’s son, were held up because they came late to the process. Others applied on time but were disappointed by their assignments and hoping for better placements.
"Why does a school district that starts the assignment process so early not finish it before school starts? Administrators say they can’t start assignments until late in the summer because they have to wait for 3,000 students to finish summer school in August to find out who will actually be promoted and who will have to repeat a grade. The school district’s hotline, which fielded 15,000 calls in five weeks, only has a temporary staff of a dozen and only opened in late August.
Here is the Boston Public Schools student assignment policy for waitlists:
- BPS will create wait lists for all schools where there are more applicants than available seats for a particular grade.
- A student’s place on the wait list is based on the registration period when the student applied, sibling priority, the school choices selected on the application, and a random number.
- No student will have a lower place on a wait list than any student who applied in a later registration round, regardless of priorities. However, within each period, a student’s place on the wait list can change if his/her priorities change, which may affect the placement of other students on the wait list.
- Families registering for any grade, K0 through 12, may be placed on up to three wait lists. Families who are assigned to their second choice school may be on the wait list for their first choice school. Families assigned to their third choice school may be placed on the wait lists for their first and second choice schools. And families assigned to their fourth choice school or higher, or who are unassigned (kindergarten only) or administratively assigned (see below), may be on wait lists for their top three choices.
- Families may request that a student be added to any wait list (to a school for which they are eligible to apply). However, students may not occupy more than the number of wait lists prescribed above. Students already on the maximum number of wait lists must go off one list in order to be added to another.
- Any student who remains a Boston resident may remain on a wait list after the beginning of the school year, regardless of whether or not the student attends the Boston Public Schools.
- All wait lists expire at the end of the second marking period (January of the following year).
2. Students with sibling priority
3. Students with walk zone priority
4. Students with no priorities
2. All other students (no walk zone)