Parent Rips Buffalo School Choice Lottery System

5:33 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, New York - It may be a hiccup of sorts in the Buffalo school district's computerized school choice program and it's extremely frustrating for a viewer who obviously wants options for her child.

Tera McElligott says she went to the district's website to fill out an on - line application for that lottery system so that her four year old daughter could find a place in a school somewhat near their North Buffalo home.

That system started last year to help parents navigate the placement system.

She could list five schools as her preferences for her daughter to attend.

But now she finds out in a letter that the system run from this office did not select her child for placement in those schools and she has to seek other schools that may be far away. That includes schools in South Buffalo or Clinton street which is quite a bus ride for a four year old girl.

McElligott says "I think it's unacceptable that they were unable to place her in any school. I mean now they'll tell you what's left but all of the lottery is done and the schools are far away or under-performing."

District spokeswoman Elena Cala acknowledges the system did not work out well for McElligott.

Cala says part of the problem this year is that more families with kids in Pre-K are opting to stay in the Buffalo system because of the district's connection with the new Say Yes program.

That provides college tuition for successful graduates. So those Pre- K kids automatically fill more kindergarten slots than expected. More kindergarten classes may be needed with more enrollment.

Cala also agrees that perhaps the website lottery application form should allow parents to pick ten preferred schools instead of five so they have more options.

Cala says this will be discussed with the administration and school board. In the meantime district officials will try to come up with more options for Tera McElligott and her daughter.





































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