I’ve moved back home for about 3 weeks now. I started a temp job with pinellas county schools. My sister, Grace, worked with the same program last year.

Pinellas Country School has an awful ratio-correcting scheme under the guise of a “choice” plan. In the registration period, students are able to pick their top 4 choices of schools. With seat availibility and color ratio-allowance, children are put into a lottery, with 95% (this past year) getting their number 1 choice. Elementary schools and Middle schools are broken into 4 and 3 attendance areas, and all 16 high schools are in a single area. So, any high schooler has the potentional to be bussed completely across the county.

The students who do not get their number 1 choice in the lottery are then placed into a second lottery, where promixity, race, siblings, grandfather and random numbers play a factor. If kids, after the second lottery, are not placed in the school of their “choice”, they can be placed on the waiting list of the school of their “choice”. Anyone registering after the lottery will be mostly placed on a waiting list.

There are so much cross wait listing, it’s ridiculous. People are waiting to get off one list while occupying a spot that someone else is waiting for. Any one who has moved out of the county or have decided to private/home school, have not notified the county, so I’m sure there are thousands of students that are occupying seats in the schools that will be not realized until the first couple days of school. And that’s how many kids who will not find out if they will be removed from their respective wait list.

There are so many complications with siblings, extended grandfathering, human error, angry parents, careless parents, being out of town, moving, custody issues, late registration, etc.

There are so many students on waiting lists. For Palm Harbor High, there are over 300 students on the waiting list for the ninth grade. And realistically, a lot of the students will not be called off their wait list until after school starts, when the county finds who are actually in the county. But until then, they will have to attend the school they are currently attending. There is no use fighting it either- if you say you’re going to wait until your kid gets into their wait list school and not attend their assigned school, they lose all their seats (on their wait list as well as their assgined school), because they will no be considered in the country for not showing to class the first days of school.

This system is crazy and I totally understand the parents’ frustration. And I can’t imagine being the student, having to prepare for one school, going to orientation, buying supplies, possibly uniforms, making friends, and then getting into the school of their choice after school starts and redoing everything.