“School of Choice” rule change limits twins’ chances of acceptance

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“School of Choice” rule change limits twins’ chances of acceptance

Chloe Hilles

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Foothill’s well-known lottery acceptance system is facing a new change in this upcoming “School of Choice” window, Jan. 8, 2016 through Jan. 22, 2016. 

In the lottery process, all applicants are randomly assigned a number that is used to determine their spot on the waiting list. Foothill accepts a certain number of students each year, and the others are notified of their waiting list status.

Previously, twins who applied for Foothill had “twice as many chances to get in,” according to Principal Joe Bova.

In the past, when twins applied for 9th grade, they were entered as separate numbers. If one twin’s number got pulled, the other would get priority on the waiting list.

“And then if we had space available then we would get the twin in, almost always we have a few spaces available so we almost always get to both siblings in that situation,” Bova explained.

That “School of Choice” rule has now changed for all “School of Choice” schools. There had been talk of the rule changing for a number of years, but “it always seems that we work it out so that they don’t change it,” Bova said.

 

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Ventura Unified wanted to allow as many families the opportunity to attend Foothill as possible, which is why the rule is changing.

Siblings of students already attending Foothill take up about “60 of the 275 freshmen” who are accepted every year, according to Bova. Twins would occupy about another “10-15 spots.”

“The benefit of the change? Each child gets an independent turn in a lottery, whether [she or he] has a twin or not,” Superintendent Michael Babb said. “This gives all participating students an equal standing.”

Controversially, a philosophy of the district has always been to keep families together at schools.

“Admittedly, this adherence to the rule poses a possible problem for twins,” Babb said. “If one twin gets in and the other does not, the parent would have to choose whether to accept the spot for the twin who gained entry through the lottery and enroll the second student at the home school, or reject the offered space and keep the siblings together at the home school.”

 

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The two sides of the argument puts the district “at odds,” according to Bova.

“This is not a new rule,” Babb explained. “It is a stricter adherence to an existing rule intended to make the process fair and unbiased.”

This rule change does not contradict the present “School of Choice” rule that ensures incoming siblings a spot at Foothill if their sibling will be attending Foothill the following year.

About 13 years ago, twins, triplets, et cetera, were entered in the lottery as one spot.

“As you could imagine, the triplet or twins families were like ‘Well that’s not really fair, that gives them [fewer] chances,’” Bova said.

As a result of upset twin families, the district changed the rule to give twins separate numbers, and giving them priority on the waitlist if one twin got in.

 

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Both Babb and Bova believe that this new change will provide more opportunities for families to attend Foothill.

“I am not sure how the change will affect the lottery, but it promises to make the process as fair and as impartial as possible,” Babb commented.

Featured Photo Credit: Rachel Horiuchi/The Foothill Dragon Press

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