2013 Champaign Kindergarten Lottery Results: They’re In

With three elementary schools within 1.5 miles of her central Champaign home, Erin Knowles (a chambanamoms.com contributor) didn’t think her family would have much of a problem when it came to the Champaign Unit 4 Schools kindergarten lottery.

champaign unit 4 kindergarten lottery letters 2013

The Champaign Unit 4 2013 kindergarten lottery assignment letters have been mailed to prospective families. Morguefile photo

On Friday, Knowles received a phone call from the district letting her know that her son was one of the 42 children who did not match with any of the five schools they preferenced in the lottery, and therefore was “unassigned.” Her son is No. 4 on the waiting list for their top choice school, Westview Elementary.

“The system is broken when you live within proximity to your top three choices and you get unassigned,” Knowles said Saturday. Knowles lives within proximity of South Side and Bottenfield, the family’s second and third choices; Barkstall and Carrie Busey rounded out the family’s top five.

On Friday, Unit 4 mailed letters Friday to families who registered their children for the 2013 kindergarten lottery, and many received them on Saturday but others will receive them Monday.

According to a news release put up Friday on the Unit 4 website, the district touted that 94.2 percent of those registered received assignment to one of their first five choices, and 85 percent received their first choice. Both numbers are down slightly from 2012, when 89 percent of families got a first choice.

When it comes to the unassigned, the district “will continue to work with these families so that each child may be assigned a seat as soon as possible and those families are offered seats on the waitlists at each of their top five schools should a seat become available,” the news release said.

Knowles said she “naively” did not anticipate having a problem. Knowles had been observing data shown on the district’s “dashboard”, a new feature this year designed to allow parents to see stats about each elementary school’s registration numbers throughout the registration period. It showed information such as kindergarten capacity at each school, and how many other families with sibling or proximity priority listed each school as their top choice.

At the time registration closed, it did not appear as if Westview was over chosen, she said, But Knowles got concerned when she noticed the dashboard was updated a week after registration closed, she said. The dashboard has been taken down entirely from the district website. (We will try to reach a Unit 4 official to discuss the dashboard, and other issues related to the kindergarten lottery, as soon as possible).

The district said in the news release that it anticipates 800 students will ultimately enroll for kindergarten in 2013-14, down from this year’s record class of 860. 


Get the Chambanamoms.com Weekend Planner (It’s Free!)

Enter your email address to receive email updates. We respect your email privacy.


  1. I had noticed the same thing about the Dashboard shortly after registration closed. So I specifically contacted Unit 4 and asked if this was reflective of how many people would receive their first choice. At that time they responded that this was not the case, since they would still need to redistribute based on SES and other diversity metrics.

    Based on this response, I was not at all confident that we would receive our first choice – but (luckily?) we did. That being said, I choose within the “suggested guidelines” to have the best chances of procuring that possibility.

    I fear that the dashboard, while extremely well intentioned with the hope of further transparency regarding the process, may have been more misleading than helpful this year? Maybe with more explicit information about the metrics or the limitations of the numbers listed… (which maybe were there and I didn’t read?)…It also had listed Prox. B on it, which was supposedly not a factor this year.

    All I know is, I am glad I don’t work at the Family Information Center or Mellon Building today … can’t be a fun week for them ANY year.

    • I agree that the dashboard was well intentioned, and in theory a good idea. We knew (based on tours, meeting with personnel, best fit for our son) what our selections would be, and didn’t really consider the dashboard except to peek every now and then at what was going on. It was my fault for getting my hopes up at the end when I saw the numbers prior to them being updated the following week after registration (when I had been so guarded for so long). I hadn’t thought about the And I agree about your sentiment on working at the FIC. It does have to be a tough job when you’ve got parents pushing on behalf of their children.

      But choosing and ranking a list of schools for your children to attend should not be turned into a “gaming the system” kind of ranking process. We all make choices based on personal reasons that do not get factored into the process, especially when your child might have added difficulties in certain environments. Getting a feel for a place, and especially leadership, is important.

      This too shall pass. Eventually. Ugh.

  2. Fri I found out that the dashboard did not reflect children who will be repeating kindergarten. So it is an additional factor not represented. The numbers come from the schools after the application deadline but may also change as we get closer to the start of the school year. I suggested that they be represented on the dashboard in addition to percentage of applicantswho are low szas scores which schools need to place to meet the “guidelines” for funding

  3. FYI – there is a semi-public twitter conversation about the dashboard between Stephanie Stuart and Gordy Hulten. Also, the school attorney is making plans to publish a new RFP for the “Schools of Choice” program “soon” (following the same schedule from last year).

    In an effort to be “glass half full”, I am curious what solutions parents might have. How would Ms. Knowles change the system so that nobody was unassigned? I have my own ideas, to be sure – it is not my intent to place the onus of responsibility on the parents who had the misfortune to be unassigned. Rather, I think the district needs to hear about these stories, both the frustration of how it feels, but also viable solutions so that future parents do not have to experience the same thing.

    • Charles, I don’t think it is truly fair to ask Erin how she would change the system. This is not just one family’s problem, and it’s not just a district problem. It is a COMMUNITY problem. Stories like these deter some families from considering living in Champaign. I have been accused of not liking Unit 4; nothing could be further from the truth. My child attends a Unit 4 school. Her education has been stellar. I keep writing about this because I love this community and want it to succeed. The fact that stories like this persist is a stain on our COMMUNITY. I am hopeful that in the end things will work out for Erin and for all the families who are unassigned.

    • Hi Charles, and thank you for your comments.

      Honestly, I don’t know what the solution is. When there are more applicants than seats available, someone is going to get unassigned. That’s math that you can’t argue with. This year we happen to be one of the unassigned. And obviously, we’re not happy about it (though one can’t really argue with math). Perhaps there are parents that are ok with it and have faith in the system, because eventually, it all works out. We pick up the pieces and move on, and that will happen here.

      I understand the origins and intentions behind “schools of choice” (or controlled choice, though I’ve never quite understood the “controlled” part). And on some level, I agree with them. I would be interested in hearing yours, and anybody else’s suggestions for improvement. I don’t know all of the data as intimately as you do, nor the extensive history, passion, anger, and emotions that have been poured into this process by all sides.

      The issue is complex, to say the least (even for those communities that have neighborhood schools. Federal and State standards, regulations, test scores, access, etc). I think the issue is one that’s for more than just the school system to have the responsibility for configuring classrooms to score higher on tests, etc. And therefore I wholeheartedly agree with Laura that this is a COMMUNITY issue. The city, the county, our neighbors, ourselves.

      I agree that people sharing stories (both happy and frustration) are a good way to learn and move forward. From these conversations, historical data, current data on how SOC is actually working to improve test scores, graduation rates, etc we can find a way.

      This isn’t just my issue though. It’s our whole community’s issue. I just happen to be a newly added member to this whole fiasco so it can be a little personal and aggravating. :)

      • Erin, first, thanks for your honest and thorough response.

        To both you and Laura, I 100% agree, this is a community issue. As such, I see Erin (and Laura, and Cara, and Erin and myself) as community members. We make community.

        Again, it is not my intent to tell Erin to fix the problem. Erin, you mentioned sharing stories is a good way to learn and move forward. That is an excellent way to put it. We need more of that. We hardly hear from the parents who had the fortune to be assigned (one way or the other), but they also have stories.

        How would I approach a fix? First, why have unassigned at all? I am curious, what if you, Erin, received a letter stating that your child was assigned to a school you did not pick, but that you were placed on the waiting list for other schools just in case something opened up? Would that change your perception? Would that help you feel better?

        What if parents could choose (and list) a characteristic or aspect of a school? What if, instead of “rank order” (that is not obvious lay language in the first place), you said you wanted a school that started at (or near) 8:15 am, did not have a Balanced Calendar and you preferred the closest possible school.

        What if parents didn’t have to wait an entire month just to learn their results? This one is tricky – how do you speed up the process of getting back to parents without inducing a “first come first served” mentality? I do not know how to answer this one. But if everything is computerized, a whole month of wait is just ridiculous.

        What if instead of 5 schools, you could list them all? If every parent were required to list all schools in order of preference, nobody would be unassigned. Unless there were more kids than seats available. According to the projections and depending on how the district works out the bubble classrooms and future facilities, there is a chance the district will have to pull some cards from their sleeves to make sure that doesn’t happen.

        Yes, the issue is complex. I ask, in general, of the COMMUNITY, how do we make it better? What awesome ideas do you, the COMMUNITY, have?

        Erin, thanks again for being willing to share your story, even though it is frustrating. I hope I have not made things worse.

  4. Laura is absolutely right. Erin and I strongly considered moving to Urbana so that we could be CERTAIN our children would be able to attend a school we felt good about. For various reasons, we decided not to do that. We love where we live in Champaign and are close enough to walk to our first choice school. We thought since we were in proximity to our top three schools that we really had nothing to worry about. (Yes, I know proximity only matters for the first choice.) The system is broken, no matter the good intentions behind “Schools of Controlled Choice,” and it’s not my job to fix it. I’m just a parent trying to balance my own work and family life and wanting the best for my child. Hopefully it will all work out in the end. Getting your child into kindergarten SHOULD NOT be this stressful.

  5. Carl, I couldn’t agree more that it is unnecessarily stressful. I am one of the parents who has not received an assignment nor a phone call at this point, so I’m extremely nervous right about now. Fortunately, what ever school we are assigned will only be temporary, as we are moving out of the country in January. When we come back in January 2016, we will be moving to either Urbana or Mahomet, as I am not going to be put through this ordeal again. It is nerve-wrecking to say the least. God only knows what happens when you come into this district mid-year if you can’t get into the school just across the street months in advance.

  6. In response to Charles, I am a parent who received our “first choice” school. I state it that way because, all things equal, we may not have selected it as our first choice. We simply knew going in that we had essentially no chance at the traditionally overchosen schools. From my biased viewpoint, this is the biggest problem with the “choice” system. We are not low-SES. We have no Prox A school. Our Prox B school is nearly 3 miles away, not a convenient location for us, and not a highly desired school for most parents.

    In evaluating, we knew we would not get Barkstall, Bottenfield, Westview, Southside or likely Robeson. Carrie Busey is way too far for us and likely full as well. We felt our only real options to choose from were Garden Hills, Kenwood, Stratton, Doc howard and BTW. We visisted all of these schools. At least living close to an overchosen school gives you a chance – I don’t think alot of people fully appreciate the advantage that Proximity, especially A, provides. People just need to be aware that if they do not get their first choice, their options quickly shrink to this latter group of 5.

    Fortunately we discovered BTW. Our tours blew us away. Great facilities and leadership. Skilled teachers. Uniforms a plus to us. Well-behaved students. Much improved neighborhood from my memories of 20 years ago. We listed it first and received it. I fully believe after a few more years of data are available, BTW will be overchosen.

    If we are making a system based on chance, why doesn’t every one have an equal chance at any school (at least at the start). I compare this to the military draft. Everyone who is registered has an equal chance of being first in line, last, or anywhere else along the way. Some people still would not be happy (ask those with low military draft numbers), but all would be equal, at least within SES grouping.

    The dashboard is an interesting tool, but it was very misleading to many parents – we nearly changed our first two choices because we thought seats were available at Barkstall and Bottenfield. Had we done that, would we have received BTW, or is it then full (hopefully Charles has that data soon)?

  7. Well we got our first choice, but there was drama. I received a voicemail this afternoon stating my child was one of the 42 who were initially unassigned, but seeing as she was #1 on the waitlist for our top choice (Robeson), they wanted to wait to notify us. Fortunately, there was movement, and we are now “in”. In a way, I’m glad they waited, because if I’d had to go through the weekend, I’d have been prepping my homeschool plan.

  8. John, you stated my concerns about this system very succinctly. We live in an area with no proximity school. When we attended the information night they cited the statistics of 85% of families getting their top choice and over 90% getting one of their top 5. However, they failed to mention that if you live in an area with no proximity school you may as well not even bother picking schools you really want as you actually have no shot at getting that school. I did not learn this reality until I turned my choices in and was told what would really happen. At that point I was instructed to watch the online dashboard and come in and change my choices if the numbers weren’t playing in my favor. This seemed logical (although extremely maddening). We watched the dashboard up until the last day and then confirmed our choice. At that time, the dashboard said we had at least a 60% chance of getting the school we wanted. That felt like relatively decent odds. But the following week, that chance went down to 20% and two weeks later it was down to 0%. In addition to that, we were told that the other schools on our list were typically oversubscribed and filled up with people who had those schools as first choice and therefore, even though they were in our top 5, we had little to no chance of getting those schools either. This is frustrating beyond belief. I feel that if this is truly “school of choice” then proximity should no longer play a role in the lottery. The only “priority” anyone should be given is if they already have a sibling in the school. The rest should be left to lottery and then adjusting for SES.

    We got a school assignment but we’re not happy with the assignment and will be going to private school for kindergarten with hopes of getting a 1st grade transfer. My frustrations with this system are great. First, be up front about how this process actually works during the information sessions. Do not make it sound like there is really a choice. As John mentioned, for those of us without proximity, we have a choice – as long as it is among the schools that most people don’t want as their top choice. (I don’t know about other people, but I don’t feel good knowing that my children will be given the “leftovers”, I would like my children to get into the school that I feel best suits them.) Second, I pay my taxes just as those with “proximity” do. Therefore, I deserve the same chances of getting any of the Unit 4 schools as everyone else. And right now that is not the case. Finally, if you are going to instruct families to monitor an online tool as a factor in making final decisions, then that online tool better be updated at least daily.

    For all of the parents I have spoken with about this, it seems this is just an unnecessarily stressful system for a time when we should just be able to celebrate our little ones becoming big kids. I’m hopeful that I will stop feeling irritated over this process and will settle into what we have chosen to do and move on. However, I hope the system gets overhauled for those who will go through this process in the years to come.

  9. I have to agree with Angela. We also had no proximity school and no sibling. Despite having been cautioned against picking “oversubscribed” schools, we concluded that we had done our homework, had determined the best school for our kid, and that’s the school we were going to list as our first choice. He was assigned to our fourth choice. Our child will not be going to the school we were assigned.

    If the goal of this system is to drive folks who live on the west side of town (and have no proximity A) to send their kids to private schools, it’s working! It would seem the schools are losing some valuable diversity with this process.

  10. This is just it – being unassigned, assigned to your fourth choice, being told you have basically no options except to hope and pray that it all works out, being told that only your first choice gets a bump in the proximity A column (we had THREE proximity A schools on our list), pay attention to a dashboard that is anything but relevant at the time choices are being made: it’s all just ridiculous, anything but transparent, and makes a parent feel like the system knows what’s best for our children.

    And Angela, I think, very rightly, you put in to words what so many (I can’t speak for all of course) feel: if you don’t get your top choice, or if you’re not in proximity it seems, what you get is “leftovers”. Which is difficult to say, but the schools not getting chosen are the schools “leftover”, i.e. the only ones with space readily available to accomodate the unassigned, etc.

    We have now been assigned a school, and we’re lucky we asked and pushed about availability at the school we did get assigned to, otherwise we were given four options, and quite frankly, not ok with any of them.

    But here’s the kicker: Angela, you mentioned that you feel frustration and that you hope (eventually) it dies down over time, and that the system gets overhauled in the future. We all (me including) get upset as we go through it, but over time, we go on, eventually end up in a place that works (private, public, home!), and life goes on. The system isn’t going to change unless we all rally together, talk about it, look at the data (is it really working across the district?), offer some sensible solutions (again, don’t have any at the moment!), and push as a community to get this ship moving in the right direction. I think it continues on year after year because those who felt slighted the year before might still be upset, but don’t really do anything about it. It’s a complex issue on SO MANY different levels and feels less than hopeful. Who’s got the time, quite frankly? But this is a chronic issue that’s going to take a lot of people up in arms about it to get anything done.

    I hope you (we) all land in a spot that works for your family and kids. I really, really do. Because at the end of the day this is a personal journey for each of us, and our children. Big hugs to all.

    • I, for one, am ready, willing, and able to work toward a solution toward this problem. And that’s exactly what it is: a problem. My child’s “ordeal” was over before I ever knew about it, and she will be going to our first choice school, but I am not happy at all about how it played out, and I’m on fire to change this ridiculous process.

      In 2 1/2 years we will be doing this all over again, as we are moving out of the country with plans to return in the middle of a school year. I emailed the FIC yesterday and was basically told in the most diplomatic way possible that my child would be assigned to whatever school I preferred as long as there were openings, keeping in mind the balance of SES. We all know where the openings will be, and I’m not going to be satisfied with those choices.

      • Betsy Crocker says:

        There are families who take fall-semester sabbatical, opening a space mid-year, and families who move away mid-year, so I wouldn’t say you’re absolutely guaranteed that you won’t get a school you want. I don’t know how SES works into those mid-year choices, though.

  11. Posters have written eloquently about this process. My question is how many of this posters are working to change the choice system, housing stock throughout the city, siting of schools, connectivity within the community, walkability for the students, etc. Some of the posters have taken the path of least resistance by sending their child/children to private schools. This does not solve the problem for the whole community.

  12. The main issue with eliminating proximity as a criteria is transportation, as fewer children will be going to a school they could theoretically walk to. I concur with most that this is not a good thing, but I also think the effect may not be as extreme as anticipated. I would love to see a good simulation of this issue to see how things could change.

    I agree with the concept of sibling priority – no family should have to go through the process again unless they really want to.

    SES should absolutely be a consideration. It could even be a consideration that the current +/-15% target set by the district is too broad.

    And Angela’s example of “leftovers” is right on. Everyone else has gone through the buffet and the prime rib is all gone, leaving us with “mystery meat” and some strange casserole. Well, sometimes you try the mystery meat and casserole and find out it’s pretty tasty. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you go someplace else. But it doesn’t help to look over at the people eating prime rib knowing you never had a shot at it. Enough food analogy.

    Right now, I feel lucky and blessed to have the assignment we received. I am interested to hear what schools have filled and which are still being offered to those unassigned.

  13. Pattsi, you have quite a long list of community problems that you are proposing we parents of small children solve. I was under the impression that these are the issues my elected officials are supposed to be addressing.

    As one of these parents, I had some faith in the system, particularly given my family’s proximity to excellent schools. That faith was clearly misplaced, given what we’ve experienced in the course of the whole process. As I learn more about the system and the process, you’d better believe I’ll be more involved in advocating for change. However, I do work a full-time job outside my home, in addition to the full-time job of raising my two children. I’ll do what I can, but I’m just one person, and I presume other parents probably feel similarly unempowered.

    Furthermore, I think it’s unfair and quite judgmental of you to describe these parents as “taking the path of least resistance,” by sending their children to private school rather than taking an assignment they don’t feel is best for their children. We are all just parents trying to make the right choices for our kids.

    • Absolutely, very fair points that you have made. Even though it has been decades since my children attended Unit 4 schools, I am still a taxpayer and a member of the community. These two characteristics along with being an urban planner thus knowing the importance of a great school district related to how a community is viewed from all perspective (there are other important variables also) cause my interest in Unit 4. The number of private schools and out migration has grown dramatically since my children moved on to higher education. But the problem as remained the same in that when parents have the means their children were either at Uni or sent away to private school. This dramatically took a significant contingent of individuals who might have effected change out of the mix. In 42 years of residency, there has been only one professor of education on the board. The point of these two comments has to do with years of missed opportunities and maybe even avoiding the costly and disruptive consent decree. I totally agree that everyone is very busy, tired, and low on energy making it more difficult to get involved.

  14. Erin,
    What school did you end up getting?

  15. Amanda says:

    While I disagree with Pattsi’s suggestion that parents who opt to go to the private system after a disappointing experience with the public system are somehow shirking their responsibilities, I do agree with the idea that changing the big stuff is the only way this system will be better. There’s a reason why certain schools are overchosen and certain schools are underchosen. If we could make it so that our schools are more consistently desirable there would be less competition for a select few schools. BTW is a great example. Historically not a highly chosen school, but has recently enjoyed a greater investment in resources (through grants and other things), development of a magnet program, neighborhood improvement, etc. I agree with John that BTW will be a top chosen school in the next few years. If we could get that kind of investment and quality faculty at all our schools, people wouldn’t be so polarized over getting into just a few, they might be happy with any assignment they get. But I don’t believe that any family has a responsibility to put their child into a school they don’t believe is the right fit. Community involvement in improving the conditions that will improve the school system doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive to attending private school, IMO.

    An interesting variable, I think, is proximity. I get the impression that proximity is viewed at the extremes: either families hate it and think it’s unimportant (and also probably don’t live within walking distance to a school either by choice or not) or families think it’s very important and perhaps purposely selected their home so that their kids could walk to school. In my opinion, proximity should be retained in concept – walkability is important, for lots of reasons. Proximity A is useful in that regard. I’m divided on Proximity B. For some families, it means nothing. If your closest school is 3 miles away that hardly makes it one that you’d prefer because “it’s close”. On the other hand, if your closest school is 1.6 miles away (that is, just outside of the limit for being a Prox A school but still “just down the street”), it might matter quite a bit to you that you get to attend that school instead of bussing your child 40 minutes across town every day. I’m not sure what the solution is. My opinion is that the current system *tries* to take into account the things that matter to many families. There are just so many variables and the one system has to work for all 800 families, which is quite the challenge.

    And for reference, we were lucky enough to get assigned to our first choice school, for which we had proximity B. I’ve voiced concerns over this system since we first got involved in it, and will continue to participate even though we’ve now gotten what we hoped for. I hope that everyone does the same.

  16. Melissa – currently we are assigned to BTW, and we are also looking in to other options (and will continue waiting to see if we happen to make it through the waiting list process for our first choice). I have questions around the magnet schools and what happens to them after the grant funding runs out at the end of next year. Will/can the funding be renewed, and the magnet schools continue? If not, what happens to the magnet programs? Perhaps that information is out there and I just can’t put my finger (or clicker!) on it. If it’s not, I think it’s something important to think about.

    • Betsy Crocker says:

      Chambanamoms–Erin’s questions re magnet schools are excellent ones!!

      • Erin,

        Cheryl Camacho is the administrator for the district Magnet programs. I will forward your questions to her – I am also curious. :) If you have any desire to contact her directly, her email address is camachch@champaignschools.org.

        I know they have talked about this very issue, but I do not recall exactly what was said or what the expectation is. I do know that BTW has very strong ties to the University’s I-STEM program.

    • Here is what Cheryl Camacho says (reprinted with permission):

      The short answer is that the magnet programs will continue. Dr. Wiegand is committed to ensuring that they continue beyond the grant. In fact, I have scheduled to bring in consultants from The Finance Project (very reputable organization who has experience in magnet program sustainability planning) to facilitate a two day retreat later this month with folks from the district/magnet schools to work through sustainability planning. We will have a formal sustainability plan written by July 1 and this plan will serve as the foundation for securing additional funding/forming partnerships next year. We are in a great place to have a formal sustainability plan as we move into the 3rd year of the grant.

      In addition, the middle level has already begun planning to bring the magnets to middle school. They are exploring what that will look like for fall 2014.

      • Thank you, Charles, for asking and providing this information. That is very good to know (and hear) that they are working on a sustainability plan for the magnet schools.

  17. My biggest take away is that I do not read letters-to-the-editor about this situation or anything else happening related to Unit 4; I do not read about parents “storming” the BOE meeting to express concerns; I do not read about a continuing pressure group, aka the Citizens for Peace and Justice related to the county jail issue; I do not read about a white paper being put together by parents describing potetial ways to correct the issues mentioned in this thread; I do not read about requests for more board transparency, etc. For whatever reason, the Champaign residents are not processing the upcoming increase in property taxes when a referendum is put up for a vote in 2014; whereas, the Urbana residents are all over the potential property taxes increase due to the Carle tax situation. Why this difference?

  18. Ariana says:

    Erin, I think you’ll be very happy at BTW. I love it and I’m glad that it’s one of the “under chosen” schools.

    I’m also wondering what exactly about these “leftover” schools many of you don’t seem to like? From the comments I’m reading, it seems as if your number one school isn’t given to you then you’re taking your ball and going home. Also, by saying you don’t want a “leftover” school what are you saying about those that chose that school as their number one? All of the schools in this district are great schools so please educate me on what exactly it is about the under chosen schools that so many seem to not like?

    • Ariana,

      I fully expect to have a terrific experience with BTW, as evidenced by my prior posts.

      My complaint is not so much with the underchosen schools as with the system. We investigated our options as far as underchosen schools, but had various reasons such as facilities, student behavior, or administration (not an all inclusive list by any means) that moved them down our list. As many have stated before in various places over several years, alot of the decision comes down to the “feel” of the school during visits. No parent of an incoming Kindergartener should write off a school without visiting and reviewing the “report card” more in depth than the overall score. Ideally talk to parents who have children at the various schools for their input.

      There are some of the overchosen schools I would not have high on my list personally, and some of the underchosen that would fit my child’s needs reasonably well. I do think too many people get caught up in what everyone else is selecting and overall test scores. That is why many pick the same schools as so many others and end up unassigned if they don’t have priority or are unlucky in their random number assignment.

      A significant portion of the district population is being restricted (perhaps not explicitly, but it is de facto restriction) from access to higher performing schools based largely on where they have chosen to reside. This seems to be what initiated the SOC system, albeit for different factors.

      Why as a taxpayer are many prevented from having the same opportunity for choice (note that I do not just say opportunity) in their childrens’ education as others in the district? Until all of the schools are perceived as equally great, there will be people who are unhappy with their assignment. Unfortunately that is what we have to deal with as long as chance is a factor. Or will chance be a factor until all schools are perceived as equally great?

  19. we live in Savoy. Do you think Carrie Busey will be our assigned school?

    • Becki,

      Nope, there is no guarantee* at all that anyone will go to their closest school, unless one already has a child there (sibling priority). However, depending on where you live in Savoy, Carrie Busey would be your “Proximity A” priority, giving you a slight advantage.

      * Even though there is no guarantee, the statistics are quite reasonable; please not take my comment to mean that it is “impossible” or not even worth trying. My point is just to clarify the facts – lots of people do get into their first choice school.