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Submitted by on 1, February 13, 2009 – 12:13 pm2 Comments

Well folks, my long-awaited call from Alameda Unified’s student services chief, Jeff Knoth, came in today and it’s official: The district will be holding lotteries for kindergarten slots at Bay Farm, Edison, Franklin and Otis schools this year.

The lotteries are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday at Edison, 2 p.m. Tuesday at Bay Farm, 3 p.m. Tuesday at Franklin and 9 a.m. Wednesday at Otis. Last year the district used a deck of playing cards to determine who got in and who was wait-listed; this year,Knoth said he’ll be using a computerized random number generator to pick the names (it’s random.org if you want to take a peek).

Knoth said the district could add a kindergarten class at Bay Farm and another at Edison if it has enough kids to support those classes. Bay Farm got 68 applicants for 54 slots (they’ve got six possible retentions), and Edison – whose principal announced the lottery there on the school’s website earlier this week – got 79 applicants for 60 slots (plus one retention).

He said the district is holding lotteries at those schools because it’s hard to know who will show up on the first day of school, and the district wants to have a fair system in place to move kids to other schools if they areoverenrolled and don’t add kindergarten classes.

The district doesn’t have the space to add classes at Otis, which is 14 kids over, or Franklin, which is seven kids over, he said.

Kids with siblings already in the school whose parents applied during the two-week kindergarten roundup are automatically in, according to the lottery rules, which went into practice for the first time this school year. Anyone who is not selected is placed on a wait list, and can either wait to see if they get into their school or ask to be placed elsewhere.

Knoth said the district’s openings are at central Island and West End schools – Ruby Bridges, Paden, Washington, Lum and Haight. Those classes were about half full after roundup, Knoth said.

He said Amelia Earhart, which got 85 applications for 100 slots during roundup, has since filled up.

Adding a class at Edison is the source of some controversy since it could involve displacing the before- and aftercare provided at the school.Knoth said the district is in the preliminary stages of figuring that problem out.

“This is still in the conversation stage,” he said.

He said it’s hard to know accurate a predictor the current numbers will be in terms of figuring out how many kindergarten classes will be needed next year, and where. The economy could bring more students (with fewer going to private school) or fewer (with families moving out of town).Knoth said he’s not sure yet what impact the opening of the new Nea charter school will have either.

When school started this year, Bay Farm had 15 fewer students than anticipated, so the district shuttered a class and moved some kindergartners to other schools.

This school year, the first year the district used the lottery system, saw lotteries at Edison and Franklin. The lottery system replaced the district’s first-come-first served system, which saw parents at some schools lining up in the wee hours of the first morning of roundup for slots.


  • The last year of "first come, first serve" actually saw people lining up for enrollment at 8pm the night before at Edison. The entire 60 capacity enrollment was in line by midnight.

    This was a post I made the morning of that fateful morning that launched the AUSD lottery.


  • Mary Pols says:

    Michele, thanks for spelling this out for us. As a parent entering the lottery at Edison, it's good to have the round up of what's going on in the rest of the schools. I think all of us who want to send our kids to Edison are really hoping the AUSD doesn't leave us on tenterhooks about that 4th class until September. Because even if I were lucky enough to see my son's name on the 1-60 list, I'd still be fretting about aftercare; without knowing for sure if there will be a 4th class, we won't be able to address the issue of aftercare until it's potentially too late. And that will apply to any of those 79 families who need aftercare, no matter where you land in the lottery. From where I sit, the best way to solve this problem is to start now. Let's figure out a way to get both that 4th class into the school and still provide aftercare. Now.

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