Open enrollment begins February 2

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – More parents than ever are expected to apply for Richmond schools' open enrollment program. That's where moms and dads try to hand pick their child's next school.

Last year there were 1000 applications. This year school leaders expect that number to triple because of the economy and the new school choice campaign.

11 year old Henry Haas attends Holton Elementary, but next year he's headed for middle school and his mom, Barbara wants to make sure his next school is the right fit.

"It's just another choice in the city of Richmond. I think our family is very committed to public school and we want to make the city of Richmond work for us," Barbara Haas said.

So she's picking out two schools and joining hundreds of other parents in the open enrollment lottery. Henry Morgan is the district pupil placement officer.

"We're hoping the word has gotten out to all the parents, and that they'll look at Richmond city again, and decide to send their children here," said Harry Morgan.

Richmond launched the school choice campaign over the summer to help spread the word that parents can apply for up two schools anywhere in the district. If you go to a school outside your zone there will not be any bus service.

"March first there will be a lottery held for secondary schools, which are middle and high schools. And then March 8 there will be a lottery for elementary schools," said Morgan.

Parents, like Barbara Haas can't wait until April when Henry's fate will be revealed.

"I am waiting very patiently for April 15 - when we find out exactly when we can make some decisions about where he'll go next year," Haas said.

The school board will begin accepting applications for open enrollment on February second. The process closes by 4:30 on February 16. But again, parents won't know the results of the lottery until April 15.

School leaders will hold two informational meetings for parents and students who are interested in applying. The first is January 26 at J.B. Fisher Elementary School. The second meeting is January 28 at Linwood Holton Elementary. Both sessions begin at 6 p.m.

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