Published: Mar 27, 2012 6:00 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 27, 2012 6:03 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla - This year, more than 16,200 students participated in the Lee County School District’s Student Assignment lottery. Preliminary data show that more than 78% of families received their first choice school for the 2012/13 school year. In addition, 95% percent received one of their top three choices.

If you disaggregate that data further, you will see that of the students entering kindergarten, sixth- or ninth-grade in 2012/13 (which are the students mandated to participate in Batch 1,) 82% received their first choice. And those percentages will continue to rise as we draw closer to the start of the 2012/13 school year.

“Between now and the start of school we’ll see students move in and out of the District, which means we’ll be processing those students on eligibility pools to get into their first choice school,” said Leila Muvdi, Director of Student Assignment. “By the 15th day, the percentage of families who receive their first-choice school well exceeds 90%.

One phenomenon that occurs is that after then 15th day, many families who did not receive their first choice school, but are then offered their first choice, choose to remain in the school where their child started the school year.

“What we see is once a student starts the school year in a school, they come to like where they are and they choose to stay,” Muvdi said. “Families quickly realize that we have excellent schools all across the county.”

This year, more than 3,981 families chose the “online option” when participating in the Batch 1 process. This option continues to grow in popularity because of ease of use and the ability to do it when it is convenient for the family.

In addition, the District has two new schools opening for 2012/13: Tortuga Preserve Elementary and Harns Marsh Middle, both in Lehigh Acres. This was the first Batch 1 these schools were part of, and it saw 495 families choose Tortuga Preserve Elementary and 530 select Harns Marsh Middle for the 2012/13 school year.

The District mailed notices to families Friday, March 23rd. It is vital families read the information sent to them they receive very carefully.

Any student who did not receive their first choice is automatically placed in the eligibility pool for their first choice school. There is no need for parents to call requesting placement in an eligibility pool – it’s automatic.

The second open-enrollment period for fall classes began March 8th and continues through Thursday, May 24th (the last day of the 2011/12 school year.) Once school ends, the District will make administrative assignments for students in grades six and nine who have not made their own school selections for next year.

Parents who have questions about the student assignment program can call the Student Assignment Office nearest them: 239-337-8247 (Fort Myers;) 239-242-2059 (Cape Coral;) or 239-337-8347 (Lehigh Acres.)