I may be jumping into a hornet's nest here but there's a lot of confusion and anger out there over high school assignments. (I may be repeating a few things I said elsewhere but I want to paint a full picture.)
I was at a Site Council meeting at Roosevelt last night and learned that the waitlist, including all grades not just 9th, is over 400. That's a lot of disappointed people.
The big issue that each and every one of us needs to get, that no enrollment plan can fairly address, is that we live in a geographically challenged city. Period.
Wednesday night I was at a PTSA meeting where the changed to Metro was discussed and a scatter map of eligible students given out. I was surprised at how many students come from Magnolia/QA/SE. But that will change in the coming years. Here's why.
First, a little review. When a school is overenrolled, a series of tiebreakers kick in. The first (and most obvious) is sibling. Then, it's region (except high school is an all-city draw so the city is the region). Then distance. Then lottery.
I think what happened this year (and maybe for a few more) is a perfect storm of conditions. New building for an academically successful school with great programs. More private school parents noticing this and applying to get in. The last of the siblings from students who were probably the last ones to use the racial tiebreaker are coming in from all directions. The distance circle got smaller as the sibs/private school students/closest distance students all converged.
But those sibs from other parts of the city are likely to be the last ones to get into Roosevelt. It will become a largely NE, above the ship canal school in the coming years.
But the NE didn't just suddenly sprout teenagers. Roosevelt will likely continue to be successful and continue to draw in private school students.
So what's the answer? It's not packing more students in. The school is already overenrolled, not enough money for everyone who wants a 6-period day to have one, not enough lockers, etc.
So two things could happen. One, the enrollment below the ship canal will ease, allowing more NE students in. (If it doesn't, then I would wonder what was happening and think the district needs to look at each enrollment application from south of the ship canal carefully.) Two, Hale could (and should) open its doors to more students. I don't know how they think they can continue (especially after they get renovated thanks to BEX III) as a 1050-1100 seat school. It's just not fair to Roosevelt to have to continue to expand as Hale holds the line.
I do wonder why Ingraham (according to what I have heard) has no waitlist. It's a pretty good school with a good IB program. Both Hale and Ingraham are comprehensive high schools so there should be a solution to this problem.