- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

D.C. public schools will hold a lottery tonight to pick who among roughly 6,000 student applicants can transfer out of their neighborhood schools.
The lottery for about 5,200 slots will be held at 5:45 p.m. in the Workforce Development Center Annex at 215 G Street NE.
The process is expected to end at 6 p.m., and parents can check the results at www.k12.dc.us.
In recent years, parents camped in front of schools because students wanting "out of bounds" transfers were selected on a first-come basis. But this year, Superintendent Paul L. Vance instituted a computerized lottery to keep parents from standing in line overnight and to make the system more fair.
"Some parents did not have a chance," said Ralph Neal, assistant superintendent of student services for D.C. schools. "Some of the influential leaders in the city made requests through their contacts to get their constituents' [children] enrolled. This way, they must go through the process."
However, officials said students with siblings who attend requested schools will be given first preference.
Seats are available in 76 elementary schools, eight middle schools, nine junior high schools and eight senior high schools. No seats were available at some of the city's best-performing schools, including Oyster Bilingual Elementary in Northwest. Parents would line up for as long as five days to get one of the 30 pre-kindergarten spots.
The application process started Jan. 28 and was scheduled to end Feb. 28 but was extended to March 14 because of snow.
Parents could submit three applications per child.
Mr. Neal said applications receive a tracking number and a receipt is issued for each application submitted.
"We're now in the final phase," he said.
Students not selected will be put on a waiting list and given first rights of refusals when a seat becomes available.

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