Ventura Unified’s School of Choice lottery takes a hit after declining enrollment


VC Star

Ventura Unified School District hosts an annual School of Choice lottery to allow for local Ventura students to find their best educational fit within the available district schools.

Caroline Hubner, Reporter

As the end of the Fall semester approaches, Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) opened applications for the annual School of Choice (SOC) transfer window. School of Choice is a program that allows parents to submit applications for their students to attend any school within the district that will best fit their child’s needs. 

Any school with space availability will be open to the School of Choice application, but acceptance is determined by a random and unbiased lottery not based on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Each applicant can select up to one school different from their boundary school, except any student entering grades K-5 are allowed two choices upfront. If accepted into one school, the other acceptance is forfeited. 

An email was sent out to all current Ventura Unified families via Parent Square stating that the application window would officially open on Nov. 5, 2021 and close on Dec. 3, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Years past proved the Ventura Unified SOC lottery to be very competitive for certain impacted schools, so this year was especially significant due to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the district profile, Ventura Unified cumulative enrollment has steadily decreased since the 2016-17 school year in every grade level while total district enrollment dropped from 16,981 in 2017 to 15,871 in 2021. Also, daily student attendance has also been slowly decreasing for years and took a heavy hit during online distance learning. 

Foothill Tech principal Russel Gibbs added, “we [Foothill] still have enough students applying to keep our enrollment full. But as more students leave the district, the overall funding from the state will decrease, and that will eventually hit the districts as a whole even though our enrollment numbers will be the same.”

Ventura Unified has made no public announcements regarding the issues of declining enrollment, attendance or funding at this time.


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