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.
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.