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WTSP - Tampa Bay's 10 News - Tampa / St. Petersburg Most Popular Stories Parents say school choice is no choice Oldsmar, Florida Kids play in an Oldsmar cul-de-sac and many of them have shared laughs for years. Full Story
Heather Cyr

Lake Mary, FL

#1 Apr 24, 2007
This is the thrid year in a row that my child has not gotten ANY of our choices ( Sexton Elem., Lynch Elem, Sawgrass Elem.)We live literally within a 1/2 a mile up to 1.5 miles from these 3 Elementary Schools. Yet my child has to go to Woodlawn Elementary which is 8 miles away. School Choice is absolutely NO choice !
Kathy Crow

Terra Ceia, FL

#2 Apr 24, 2007
I went thru school "choice" last year w/my oldest son who started Kindergarten 8-06. I also got none of my 3 choices and was computer matched to Campbell Park. I know of approx 20 other moms in the NE St Pete area who encountered the same problem. I called to appeal, submitted the formal written appeal, emailed the superindendent, met with the Unitary Director for Pinellas County Schools, went before a formal appeal board---but, all made not change in my situation---I ultimately had to enroll my son in a private Kindergarten as the county option was not viable for my family w/younger sibling school and/or length of school day from 7am-4pm with bus schedule.(I was eventually able to get a spot at a closer school several weeks after school started and took him our of private and did put him back in public school---only because I was persistent and checked every day after the wait list and since a child unentolled from school it made a spot available for anyone who requested it)
Joann Klein

Saint Petersburg, FL

#3 Apr 24, 2007
This same thing has happened to me with my elementary school child, with wanting Shore Acres Elementary, a school we could walk to or ride bikes from our home. I also have gone through this 2 years in a row. I did all they asked of me, waited 4-6 hours a few times at the choice office, and was brought into a back room and told I wouldn't be getting any of my three choices, schools close to my home. I got through to someone on the schoolboard who at least got me Rio Vista Elementary.
I do not think it's fair to families who live in a neighborhood, not to have their children go to school within 2 miles of their homes. It puts an unfair burden on the bus system, especially with the gas prices. It also makes it hard to volunteer at a school that is 40 minutes from your home. And if a child is sick or hurt, 40 minutes in the car is a long ride for a worried parent. I am disgusted with the school system in this county. I
can totally sympathize with Mrs. Hintz. You vote these people in, your money pays their bills, and you get nothing but grief and worry for it.
The attendance areas are too large and when you call almost in tears nobody cares. It's not their child, they don't lose any sleep over it. I am in this woman's shoes. I was told if I try for Shore Acres, my daughter would lose her place at Rio Vista. Mrs. Hintz, the waiting list is a crock, it's only good for the first ten days of school. A witch at the school board told me that, and that there was no waiting list, and to call school choice everyday checking for a spot at Shore Acres for my kid. I thought that was pretty insulting. Why should I have to call everyday? I am glad channel 10 is at least bringing some attention to this matter. I have one more child I do not look forward to enrolling next year, more heartache and grief.
I wonder how many of the people who work for the school board actually have children in public schools, I bet very few. They are probably all driving bmw's and dropping their kids off at the best private schools in this county, or just push a few buttons and viola, get their kids in the schools they choose. Something needs to be done. I am glad you did this story. I've seen other parents very upset at the choice office. Maybe we need to all write to the governor since contacting the school board does no good and is inefective and futile.
Joann- A mom of 3
Chele

Palm Harbor, FL

#4 Apr 24, 2007
As a single parent of 5 children I have had to deal with the PC School District since my oldest
children started Kindergarten in 1981 & 1982,
respectively. Those were the days that you were
in a neighborhood zoned school, and had to apply for a special attendance permit to attend a school
outside your zoned school. Once my third, fouth and fifth children started Kindergarten in 1991,
1993, and 1994 everything was an ordeal. I, again, exhausted myself being an active participant in my younger children's education. Once School choice was implimented, it was a nightmare! From lack of transportation, keeping them challenged and excited about going to a strange school without their friends, endless teacher conferences, IEP's, exposure to delinquent kids & frequent lockdowns causing a total disruption of the learning process, my youngest is on the way to Graduate soon. This process made absolutely nothing easy for me, an involved single parent, and my children struggling to succeed. I am thankful to have this exhausting and frustrating experience nearly behind me.




Jane from Oldsmar

Zephyrhills, FL

#5 Apr 24, 2007
It's a real adjustment going from Elementary to Middle schools for our kids. Then to follow the correct "Choice" procedures (which were faulty and misleading) only to be informed that we can only choose low performing schools over 10 miles from home is inexcusable. This "equitable system" is going to drive alot of good students out of the public school system.
Coleen Baut

Terra Ceia, FL

#6 Apr 24, 2007
My daugher has been looking forward to going to high school all year long. We checked out schools did our homework and applied to the choice program when we were supposed to. Not only were the letters nine days late getting to us we found that my daughter didn't recieve either of the two schools she chose. We are not the family who wants to "choose" our child to go to a magnet or charter school. We want our children to go to the school that is in our neighborhood. We don't want two hour bus rides to and from school or friends that live too far away to hang out with on weekends. We want a
normal childhood school experience! When my daughter recieved the letter that she didn't get into Osceola or Seminole high she was in tears.(both schools are within 3 miles of our home) We were given a letter stating a date and time that we had to call into to get the leftover seats. We live in Seminole and have in the same house for 11 1/2 years. I have lived in Seminole all my 40 years, I own a business in Seminole, my father runs a major grocery store in Seminole, my husband works in Seminole, my childrens dance and twirling classes are held at the Seminole recreation center. Why can't my child go to a school in SEMINOLE!!!! Instead we got a very irritated operator on the phone prompting me to hurry up the decision of what leftover school I wanted to put my child in. With tears in her eyes my daughter reluctantly picked Pinellas Park High school because it was closer that Tarpon Springs, Gibbs, Dunedin, Dixie, Boca Ciega or Lakewood. Now on the first day of what is supposed to be my daughters best growing up years will probably be the most frightening and unpleasant experience all because her number didn't get picked from a computer.

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