Whose the 5th grader?

March 29, 2007
By

There are about to be a lot of angry parents in the next week or so as school officials announced this week that they will conduct a 5th grade lottery for seats at the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Middle School.
The problem has existed every since the new school went online last year.
The idea being that in the minds’ of most parents, something new must be something great. So, too many people are chosing the SBA. Because of the newness and the change in the middle school program, last year the School Committee and administration agreed to let everyone in.
That can’t be done this year, according to Superintendent Paul Dakin.
He said that there are just far too many 5th graders in the Lincoln, Whelan and Paul Revere who are choosing the SBA. Each elementary school now has a certain number of seats available in the SBA, and McKinley, Garfield and Beachmont elementary students did not overwhelmingly choose the SBA, though some did. The crush on the new school for the second year is just more than can be handled.
So, school officials decided that to be fair they would hold lotteries at the Paul Revere, Whelan and Lincoln. At the Paul Revere, there were 20 students who requested the SBA and only 16 seats available. At the Lincoln, there were 46 requests and only 27 seats available, and at the Whelan there were 95 requests and only 49 seats open.
Those who do not get the luck of the draw will be re-assigned to either the Garfield Middle or Rumney Marsh (Beachmont) Middle.
While the news has literally just been decided, already parents aren’t taking it well. One woman nearly got in a fight with an assistant principal at the Whelan this week while she demanded – while in the drop-off queue – that her child be let into the SBA.
It really makes one wonder who is the child and who is the parent…
Meanwhile, Dakin said the lottery will happen soon, and will most likely be conducted by an outside auditing group.
“I’m not even going to be in the room,” he said. “I won’t even be near the room.”
He said that in the coming years they expect the situation to even out, especially after the Rumney Marsh School construction is finished. But for now, it seems there will be a lot of disappointed parents – and maybe even some kids too…

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