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How hard is it to get into the Buffalo school you want?

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.

Olmsted 64Those 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.

School number School

First-round
applicants

Students getting school as their first choice Percent getting first choice
3 D'Youville Porter 272 101 37%
6 BEST 98 73 74%
17 Early Childhd Ctr 17 89 71 80%
18 Pantoja 120 98 82%
19 Native Am Magnet 179 119 66%
27 Hillery Park 136 103 76%
30 Frank Sedita 152 122 80%
31 Harriett Ross Tubman 87 71 82%
32 Bennett Park 522 184 35%
33 Bilingual Center 33 94 65 69%
37 Futures Academy 106 86 81%
39 MLK 142 120 85%
43 Lovejoy Discovery 134 101 75%
45 Intl School 45 300 199 66%
53 Community Schl 53 75 62 83%
54 Blackman 119 69 58%
56 Olmsted 56 78 39 50%
59 Drew Science Magnet 69 37 54%
61 Early Childhd Ctr 61 60 50 83%
64 Olmsted 64 662 109 16%
65 Roosevelt 107 82 77%
66 North Park Middle 74 46 62%
67 Discovery 301 79 26%
69 Houghton 140 93 66%
72 Lorraine 112 65 58%
74 Hamlin Park 94 66 70%
76 Badillo 188 138 73%
79 Grabiarz 447 332 74%
80 Highgate Heights 175 86 49%
81 School 81 211 71 34%
82 Early Childhd Ctr 82 112 101 90%
89 Wright 245 110 45%
90 Drew ECC 90 99 86 87%
91 BUILD 121 67 55%
93 Southside 222 129 58%
94 West Hertel 252 126 50%
95 Waterfront 158 106 67%
97 Austin 83 74 89%
99 Makowski 235 133 57%
131 Academy 11 11 100%
156 Olmsted 56 4 4 100%
187 Performing Arts 247 124 50%
195 City Honors 485 130 27%
197 MST Prep 198 116 59%
198 International Prep 222 134 60%
200 Bennett 77 48 62%
204 Lafayette 131 104 79%
205 Riverside 140 118 84%
206 South Park 178 138 78%
212 da Vinci 345 120 35%
301 Burgard 129 98 76%
302 Emerson 190 57 30%
304 Hutch Tech 590 281 48%
305 McKinley 384 174 45%
307 East 86 56 65%
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

facebook.com/mary.pasciak     twitter.com/SchoolZoneBlog    mpasciak@buffnews.com

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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