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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

New data tool helps families sort out the Pinellas school lottery



As the Pinellas County school system begins its application period this week for magnet programs, fundamental schools and high school academies, the Tampa Bay Times is releasing a new online interactive tool to help families gauge their chances.

Last year, more than 11,000 students applied for about 7,500 seats, leaving thousands on the outside looking in. The school system asks applicants to rank their choices from one to five, and that first choice represents each student’s strongest hand for a seat.

For each program, the new tool reveals the number and percentage of students who got an invitation from their first-choice school last year — key information that can help families make the best of their choices in this year’s lottery. The numbers provided are for students who didn’t have a “priority” that would have enhanced their chances of getting in, such as a sibling in the school. The tool also takes a broader look at the numbers, allowing families to analyze their chances if they have a priority or if they list a school as a lower choice.

We encourage families to give it a try and contact us at [email protected] with suggestions for improvements. For more information about the application process, check out our School Search 2016 section or visit the school district’s site at

[Last modified: Friday, January 8, 2016 3:42pm]


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