Charter School may have first student lottery

For the first time in school history, the Marco Island Charter Middle School faces the prospect of holding a lottery for sixth grade admissions.

The school board, following state Charter guidelines, recently approved 154 seats for each grade level, 6, 7 and 8.

At the close of the open enrollment period on Thursday the number of applications that were submitted amounted to 162 for the sixth grade.

Seventh and eighth grade applications are below the 154-student level.

“At present, we currently are brainstorming in an effort to find a way that could accommodate those extra students, while simultaneously being faithful to the mandates of the Class Size Reduction Amendment, as well as the school board’s limit and maintaining the quality of education that has created this enrollment challenge,” Principal George Abounader said on Friday.

He said the school is attempting to understand whether these are hard figures.

“It is possible that some of the applicants are also applying in other schools, or are entertaining the thought of moving during the summer, etc.,” he said. “This school year, we opened with 435 enrollees, but only 405 showed up on opening day and by the first week of September only 400 students were enrolled.”

If there is a lottery, Florida statute allows for children who have siblings in the school now, children of employees of the school, children of school board members, and children of families with a parent actively in the military, get first preference, Abounader said.

Following those exemptions, the remaining seats will be filled by the remaining applicants. Of those a number live off Marco Island.

Abounader said that should a lottery will be held, it will be at a public meeting and anyone would be welcome to attend.

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Comments » 3

MarcoDefender writes:

This is a surprise, but understandable considering the high level of performance and rating of this school.

What I wonder is, why the preference doesn't exist for students who live on marco island ( a few miles from the school), as opposed to non-Marco Island kids. Surely it doesn't seem logical to have a lottery and have N. Naples students here, while a student living across the street from the school, doesn't get chosen in the lottery, and must then have to go off island everyday for schooling. Anyone else agree?

Anyone know why preference doesn't extend beyond just school board and employees?

Ian_Curtis writes:

Because it is a public school running under a charter and it is illeagle to do it any other way. As the article says it is FL statutes.

Chestnutcondo#257855 writes:

This is absurd. This school was built for Marco kids. The
school is not at maximum capacity. Is he saying he can't
find teachers. It does not look like this board and administration have our children as their first priority.

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