Published: Jan 16, 2014 4:36 PM EST
Updated: Jan 16, 2014 6:43 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Lee County Schools are looking to level the playing field for more families hoping to get their kids into their top choice schools.

The school district is changing its application process for student assignment by eliminating the three-batch lottery system.  Starting Jan. 21, there will only be one batch, so all of the applications will go into the same lottery.

Parents, like Colleen Swartz, who strive to get their kids' applications early for a better pick at schools, feel slighted by the system.

"I don't feel real good about it," Swartz said.  "Now, even if i do do it early, it's not going to matter. Everybody's going to be put together and I'm not going to have as good a chance as getting (my daughter) in the school that I want to get her into."

Lee County Schools Superintendent Nancy Graham hopes the new process will help improve education in Lee County as a whole.

"We hope that it's going to make a difference in what some of our school populations look like because we're going to be able to spread the children all over, instead of having the schools that get the tag of being 'struggling' because they have a lot of different kids at one level, versus others who have kids at a different level," Graham said.

The application deadline for special programs, including International Baccalaureate and arts programs, will be Feb. 14.

The school district will host open houses throughout February, during which parents can learn more about the student assignment process and submit applications:

  • Feb. 6: 6:00 p.m. at Lehigh Senior High School
  • Feb. 7: 7:30 a.m. at Lehigh Senior High School
  • Feb. 13: 6:00 p.m. at Ida Baker High School
  • Feb. 14: 7:30 a.m. at Ida Baker High School
  • Feb. 20: 6:00 p.m. at South Fort Myers High School
  • Feb. 21: 7:30 a.m. at South Fort Myers High School