District Makes Changes to Combat 'School Shopping'

Courtney Williams's picture
Monday, December 5, 2011

Parents seeking spots for their children in the Palm Beach County School District's choice program are seeing a few changes this year as the Dec. 16 application deadline looms.

One is fewer choices. Students can apply for entry only into two programs this year, down from three.

Also, the district is taking aim at what it calls "school shopping," where parents apply to programs just to keep students out of their home school.

Students whose home school offers a choice program in a particular field of study, such as medical arts, cannot make a similar program at another school their first choice, said Barbara Terembes, director of the School Choice and Career Options program.

"It's a way to try to keep kids at their home school," Terembes said. "The choice program is supposed to be about the program, not applying just to move."

With the deadline still nearly two weeks away, m ore than 10,000 students have applied for new seats in choice programs, Terembes said.

By last year's application deadline, 17,466 students applied for choice seats and the district was able to place about 9,800 of them in programs, Terembes said.

That marked a decrease from the roughly 10,700 students who were able to find new seats the year before. Children who had been accepted into a choice program in previous years continue to attend that program as long as they remain academically eligible.

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