Cupertino school employees’ kids allowed into high-demand lottery
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The school board has authorized a change in open enrollment procedures so the children of district employees have a better chance of getting into coveted alternative programs.
The Cupertino Union School District Board of Education voted 4-1 on Jan. 9 to approve the change, which it hopes will encourage staff–particularly teachers–to continue working for the district. Board member Liang Chao dissented, saying it would remove too many enrollment spots from the children of non-staff residents.
The district maintains four alternative programs at Faria Elementary School, McAuliffe School, Murdock-Portal Elementary School and the Cupertino Language Immersion Program. The programs typically are in such high demand that attendance is determined by a random lottery system. In past years, non-resident students–including the children of teachers and school staff–could not enter the lottery.
Under the new rules, the children of all district employees will be allowed to participate in the lottery regardless of where they live. And the children of employees who work at least 20 hours a week will be given priority second only to siblings of students already enrolled in the alternative classes.
The change provides an incentive to staff, says Leslie Mains, the district’s chief family and community engagement officer. “How do we support our staff who may not live in the area with some perks to be able to afford care, and be able to have their students in wonderful schools,” she said during last week’s meeting.
Board members discussed a similar proposal at a previous meeting that would have given priority to children at the particular schools where their parents work.
“We feel that it’s in the best interest of our staff to treat them all equally regardless of their place of employment,” Mains said.
Chao had supported the earlier, more restrictive enrollment change but objected to approving the newer version without community input. “This is really going to take away spots at alternative programs,” she warned.
The district has about 1,600 employees, but it is not clear how many would make use the new enrollment policy.
During the public comment part of the discussion, Lorien Cunningham spoke in favor of the change. “As a parent, I’m legitimately worried about starting to lose qualified educators in this district,” she said, adding “if that’s a sacrifice we as parents and as a community need to make to have fewer spots to us taxpayers even in those most competitive programs, then I have to say that I’m for this.”
Chao replied that there are many ways to keep qualified educators. “But giving away very limited spots in alternative programs to all the staff members in one swoop–I’m not sure what the impact will be,” she said.
At a meeting last month, half-a-dozen students and parents urged the board to change the enrollment policy to include children of all district employees regardless of where they live. They said one teacher chose to quit his job after he was unable to enroll his kindergarten-age daughter at Christa McAuliffe School because he lived outside the district.
Registration for open enrollment will begin later this month and run through Feb. 14.Cupertino school employees’ kids allowed into high-demand lottery Share this: Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Lottery schools in cupertino
SchoolDigger data sources: National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Census Bureau and the California Department of Education.
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