About 1,400 Richmond Public Schools families requested to send their children to a school outside of their neighborhood in the fall, according to data the RPS administration provided to School Board members at Monday’s board meeting.
Families submitted applications last fall during the school division’s open enrollment period, during which parents can apply to send their child to any school in the district. RPS received 507 out-of-zone requests for elementary schools, 585 for middle schools and 296 for high schools.
The school division notified families last November whether their applications were accepted, placed on a waiting list, or turned down based on a shortage of spots at certain schools, says Michelle Boyd, the school division’s executive director of exceptional education and student services. Families on the waiting list were supposed to receive final notification in April, but the process was put on hold as the School Board weighed closing schools, Boyd said.
“The anomaly that was involved this year was the budget discussion and the discussion of closing and consolidating schools,” Boyd said. “We’ve not had that previously. So in the absence of that, we would have been done much earlier.”
As a result of the setback, about 50 families will receive a final letter this week notifying them that they must enroll in their zoned school, Boyd said.
Only about half of the 1,400 applications were approved. Many of the most popular schools – William Fox Elementary, Lucille Brown Middle and Huguenot High – were deemed too crowded to accept more students, Boyd said.
Last year, administrators moved up the application period by four months, citing a need to lock in enrollment numbers in the spring for scheduling purposes. Officials said at that time the shift would help RPS notify parents of whether their child had a spot in their school of choice, an important factor for families deciding between enrolling in RPS or private school.
Below are the most requested schools
- William Fox (115 applications, 0 accepted)
- Mary Munford (105 applications, 0 accepted)
- Linwood Holton (92 applications, 0 accepted)
- Binford (270 applications, 232 accepted)
- Albert Hill (211 applications, 182 accepted)
- Lucille Brown (82 applications, 0 accepted)
- Thomas Jefferson High (154 applications)
- Huguenot High (100 applications, 0 accepted)
- John Marshall (22 applications, 19 accepted)