The School Board is starting to consider whether to revamp Buffalo's school choice model in favor of some version of neighborhood schools.
It's a concept that has been floating around for some time, but only now seems about to become the subject of a full discussion at the board level.
Right now, families generally get to choose what school they want their child to attend. When you register your child for the Buffalo Public Schools, you can list up to five choices of schools, in order of preference. And then the district runs a computerized lottery to assign the available seats.
Those with a sibling already in a school get first shot at the open seats in a school. Next, people who live within 1.5 miles of a school get preference at the remaining seats. (Note: there are not neighborhood schools per se at this point, but that "proximity preference" does exist.) After that, the remaining seats are assigned through a general lottery.
(There are a few schools, such as City Honors and Olmsted, that require some sort of special testing for admission. The admission process for those schools is different from the general lottery process.)
When all is said and done, 54 percent of students got a seat at their No. 1 choice for 2010-11, according to Jackie Ross-Brown, who oversees student placement. Another 20 percent get their second choice.
Here's a breakout of what percentage of applicants get a seat at their preferred school for this year. As you peruse the numbers, keep in mind that these figures are for each school as a whole. It might be easier to get a seat in one grade or another at a given school, depending on the number of available seats and the number of applicants at each grade.
As you'll see, the school that the fewest (percentage-wise) students got as their first choice was Olmsted 64, where only 16 percent did. Next: Discovery School in South Buffalo, where 26 percent of students got a seat there as their first choice, followed by a tie at 27 percent of Middle Early College and City Honors.
At Emerson, 30 percent of students who applied there as their first choice got a seat. At School 81, 34 percent; and da Vinci and Bennett Park Montessori, 35 percent.
|Students getting school as their first choice||Percent getting first choice|
|17||Early Childhd Ctr 17||89||71||80%|
|19||Native Am Magnet||179||119||66%|
|31||Harriett Ross Tubman||87||71||82%|
|33||Bilingual Center 33||94||65||69%|
|45||Intl School 45||300||199||66%|
|53||Community Schl 53||75||62||83%|
|59||Drew Science Magnet||69||37||54%|
|61||Early Childhd Ctr 61||60||50||83%|
|66||North Park Middle||74||46||62%|
|82||Early Childhd Ctr 82||112||101||90%|
|90||Drew ECC 90||99||86||87%|
|415||Middle Early College||260||69||27%|
Stay tuned for more info here on the district's enrollment and selection process over the coming weeks and months.
- Mary Pasciak