A closer look at the fundamental school odds
As Saturday's St. Petersburg Times story noted, there's a big uptick in the number of parents wanting to get their kids into fundamental schools, and probably an uptick in the frustration ahead. Applications in Pinellas were up 23 percent this year, to a total of 8,450, while the number of available seats is about the same as last year.
At the end of the day, there are probably about 800 truly open seats next year for families who aren't already in the system. And most of them are in two grades: kindergarten and sixth grade. There are few elementary and middle school slots outside of those two grades. And while there are 450 ninth-grade slots at Osceola Fundamental High School, so many rising fundamental eighth-graders applied for them (about 525, according to deputy superintendent Jim Madden) that it's not likely many nonfundamental kids -- if any -- will land one.
The district couldn't give the Gradebook a breakdown of the number of open seats at each school by Friday's story deadline, but Madden said there will be roughly 414 kindergarten seats total and 788 sixth-grade seats total (which includes 132 gifted seats at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle). But remember, that's on paper. At least a quarter of the kindergarten slots (and maybe a third or more at some schools) will go to siblings of fundamental students, and a big chunk of the sixth-grade slots -- at least 40 percent by our estimation -- will go to rising fundamental fifth-graders.
Below you'll find the number of applications for kindergarten and sixth-grade slots at each school, according to district data. For the elementary schools, we included, in parentheses, the number of kindergarten slots that we believe are available on paper. If we're off, by all means let us know and we'll correct it. We didn't want to include the total number of sixth-grade slots available at each school until we heard back from the district, and we'll add them when we do. But if you don't want to wait, we're assuming the schools could give a parent that information pretty quickly.
Bay Vista Elementary: 459 (108)
Curtis Elementary: 387 (90)
Lakeview Elementary: 413 (54)
Madeira Beach Elementary: 506 (54)
Pasadena Elementary: 499 (72)
Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary: 197 (36)
Clearwater Fundamental Middle: 498
Madeira Beach Middle: 687
Thurgood Marshall Middle: 674
(Image from www.boardgamegeek.com)