FAQ on Pinellas school choice
While most of what you’ve been hearing lately about the Pinellas school district has concerned money woes and budget shortfalls, officials in the student assignment office have been moving forward in assigning children to schools for the 2008-09 academic year. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions parents have about the process.
Q. Can I still apply for a magnet, fundamental or career academy program?
A. The application period for magnets, fundamentals and career academies has ended, as has the acceptance period. Families on a waiting list for one of the programs could still get a call letting them know their child has been accepted.
Q. So what’s happening now?
A. The district is in the first of two open enrollment periods. This first open enrollment period, which runs through Friday , is only for parents of students in grades K-4 whose children are in their non-zoned, or “choice” school and wish to stay there.
Q. What do parents need to do to stay at their non-zoned school rather than move to their neighborhood school?
A. They must log on to the student reservation system through the district’s Web site, www.pcsb.org, using their home computer or the community computer at any school. They’ll need the password the district already has mailed to them and their child’s ID number and date of birth.
Q. Will families who want to stay at their non-zoned school get bus service?
A. No. The School Board decided earlier this year that children who don’t want to attend their neighborhood school must provide their own transportation.
Q. When will my incoming kindergartener be assigned to a school?
A. Beginning April 20, parents of students new to the district, including kindergartners, will need to look up their zoned school by using the Zone School Locator on the district’s Web site, www.pcsb.org, located under “PCS News” to determine which school is the student’s zoned school. They will use the student reservation system to register their information. Parents then will need to bring documentation, including the child’s birth certificate, proof of residency, Florida certificate of immunization and a recent physical examination certificate, to the assigned school.
Q. Will younger siblings be able to attend the same zoned school as an older family member?
A. Younger siblings will be assigned to the zoned school. These families can request a change of school during the summer open enrollment period.
Q. Will younger siblings have a preference to attend the same magnet, fundamental or career academy program as an older sibling?
A. In schools with a school-within-a-school program, a priority status is provided to the school, but a sibling is not guaranteed a seat in the program. For schoolwide programs, priority is given to enrollment in the magnet or fundamental school or career academy.
- Donna Winchester, Pinellas education reporter