Parents unsure of child's school assignment flood DCPS headquarters

Children can sign up for magnet, choice schools, but deadline long gone

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With nearly 130,000 students headed back to almost 200 schools Monday, there were bound to be some hiccups for Duval County Public Schools.

Dozens of parents formed a line nearly out the door Monday at the Duval County School Board building on the Southbank. They came with a variety of questions. Some were trying to figure out what school their child is enrolled in and others were hoping to change their child's school.

VIDEO: Concerns over enrollment in Duval County

"It does sometimes happen that our communication with parents regarding school assignment does not get through and we have families show up at the wrong school," Tracey Pierce wrote in an e-mail to News4Jax. "Every student’s situation is different, but school and district staff work cooperatively with families to solve those problems as quickly as possible."

There are still waiting lists for many magnet and choice schools around the county. The last day students will be contacted about being off a waiting list is Aug. 23. 

MAP: Where your child is zoned for school
MORE: School choice reference guide

Here are some helpful tips from the district:

  • Your child is assigned to a school based on where you live. 
  • If you don’t want your child in that school, they can attend a magnet or choice school. 
  • Both magnet and choice schools offer a special program or theme, but transportation is provided only for magnet schools NOT choice schools. 
  • The deadline for choice and magnet schools has passed, but you can still fill out a late application. 
  • Because the deadline has passed, options are limited and it may be too late to move your child from their assigned district school this year. 

Katie Lang, a mother of two, said she canceled school choice paperwork for her daughter on Friday and it caused some confusion for their first day.

“Obviously, they haven't processed that paperwork yet to get her on the roster for Fort Caroline,” Lang said. “Her younger brother was on the roster for today, and she wasn't on there yet.”

HOW TO APPLY: Choice school | Magnet school

The district building continued to be a buzz Tuesday, and officials said that because so many parents and students were showing up seeking answers, they created a help center, similar to the DMV set up, where parents can take a number and then wait to be called to speak with a school employee.

The district asks that while enrollment issues are being resolved, children continue to attend their assigned school so that they keep pace during the transition.

Officials also asked parents to be sure the district has up-to-date contact information, including mailing address, email address, and telephone number to avoid missing important communications.

Many families who gathered at the School Board building on Monday are new to the area and want to make sure they explore every option before choosing their child's school.

For all other information or if a parent wants to talk directly to someone with the district, call 904-390-2144 or 904-390-2082 or e-mail school_choice@duvalschools.org

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