Decisions on school assignment due Feb. 1

Published January 19, 2005

Within the next week and a half, students who applied for a public school should receive a letter telling them where they will attend in the fall.

The decisions were made by a computer program that determined the placement of the 20,000 children who applied primarily for kindergarten, sixth- and ninth-grade seats for the 2005-06 school year.

"The district has begun the process of assigning students," said Andrea Zahn, choice communications director. "Children have already been assigned to magnet and fundamental programs. Parents should receive their choice attendance area school assignments by Feb. 1."

The computer, housed in the district administration building in Largo, matched students who filled out a choice application between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1. The district will manually assign students who could not be placed in the computer match because the schools were already full or because the racial ratio had been met, Zahn said.

Students who were required to make a choice but did not do so before the deadline will be manually assigned to schools where space is available after those who submitted choices are placed.

In all three cases, children will receive a letter with their school assignment, Zahn said. Those who accepted invitations to countywide programs will receive a confirmation letter.

Students who will not get letters include those who are continuing from one grade to another within elementary, middle or high school as well as fifth- and eighth-grade students who are eligible for extended grandfathering unless they filled out a choice application.

Along with the letter, parents will receive information about the next steps for completing registration at their assigned schools. They also will learn about transportation, waiting lists and the appeals process.

Parents who feel the district did not follow assignment guidelines when processing their child's application have 10 days from the receipt of the assignment to file an appeal. The district will set up a help line from Jan. 31 to Feb. 7 that parents can call for more information. Details will be included in the school assignment letters, Zahn said.