We are thinking about moving to another state to be closer to family. However, it is really important to us that our kids continue in a language immersion environment. There is an immersion public school in the city where we would like to move. However, without already living in the neighborhood, we have zero chance of getting a spot. But, we don't want to move without knowing if the kids would be able to get into the school (even if we were in the neighborhood, the chances are maybe 50/50 for this year only for our entering kinder - after that we would be hoping for any openings that come up in the future). The deadline to apply is early March.
So it seems kind of crazy for us to move there within the month so we can apply as living in the neighborhood. For one, we would have to sell our house, buy/rent there, move everything, etc. - then we still might not get in! Plus the kids would have no school to go to from March until the next September.
I've heard of people renting apartments just for the address, but I'm not sure I could do that with good conscience. I wish there was an oath I could take that says "Yes, I will truly move in-district if we are accepted into the school. I promise!" :)
Anyway, just wondering if anyone had a similar situation and what did you do? It seems like we should have moved before our oldest was in Kinder if we were going to do it. Let this be a lesson to all the parents with preschoolers. If you are going to move, do it now!
We move a lot for DH's job and I truly hate the system you are describing. If you really have your heart set on this, renting the very cheapest apartment in the area makes sense. I don't see what's wrong with that. It's following their rules.
We had a choice of 3 cities on our last move, and I ruled out one because the system was what you described. My kids would have ended up at whatever open spots where left after all the parents who live there and could check out school had chosen, and they easily could have ended up in different schools that were different directions from our house. Different crappy schools that no body wanted.
We ended up deciding which city to live on based on what was the best education option for our kids.
but everything has pros and cons
That is really tough. I know at my DS's school, transferring in after kindergarten is pretty easy if you've already been in an immersion setting prior. They will only take kids who have the neccessary fluency for the grade they are attending. This means there are only a handful wanting to transfer in that would even qualify. Unfortunately, kindergarten is a whole other ball game.
When was your timeline to move? Is your child in an immersion school now? If so, could they continue and then transfer into this new school for 1st grade. Of course, that means putting off the move for 1.5 years and that might be unreasonable.
Thanks so much for your replies. It is a really frustrating situation! But maybe I can convince myself that the apartment renting would work. It does say they want it to be "the residence where the parents and children live". So I don't want to be dishonest, but we really would move into the district once school started. But I'm guessing they still wouldn't be happy if they knew we didn't live there yet. They also need 2 forms of proof, so we would need to open a banking account or something as well. Just seems kind of crazy, especially if we might not get in!
whatsnextmom, our original plan was to wait for a year or two or three, thinking that it would be easy to get in for around 2nd/4th grades because they would have the language background necessary. But then I found out that last year they only had a couple openings (3rd and 4th I think?) and the year before they had none! I guess that says good things about the school that kids aren't leaving, but it makes the chances of getting both kids in pretty slim. That's why I suddenly thought that maybe we should rush to move this year when my daughter is going into Kinder, because there are 60 openings rather than one or zero. But it sounds like it is still only a 50/50 chance. Plus I don't know if my son (going into 2nd grade) will get a slot, even if we live in the neighborhood. Oy!
One good thing is that the program goes through middle school and even high school, so it seems like we would be able to get both kids in eventually. Maybe homeschool them until they get in? But in the meantime we would need to keep their language skills up somehow. We don't speak that language at home and it is a tough one (Mandarin). It sure wouldn't be an easy road!
You might try talking to your current school. Tell them you're considering moving into the other district and, because of how great the current school is, want your kids to continue in an immersion program. And ask if there's anything they could do to help with the lottery situation.
The Mandarin is tough. My DS is in Spanish immersion but has Mandarin enrichment 4 times a week the last few years. Certianly I couldn't help with it! If they couldn't get in this year, you could homeschool or go to another school and hire a Mandarin speaking helper or tutor to talk conversationally with them.
Is their a sibling preference? If you can get your DS in for 2nd will your second child will the youngest be an automatic or get higher consideration in the lottery? All of our immersion and charters have this.
Have you contact the new school and asked if they'll have any 2nd grade spots? Whether you move there or not, you should put him on the wait list. Even if they only get 1 or 2 slots for the older grades some years, there are very few people who have the language to move in so his chances are pretty good.
Does your family or anyone else you know live in the district you are looking at? You can just register with their address, it's not a big deal. If any questions were to come up just say you are in the process of moving and staying with your family during the transition.
Mama to 3 awesome girls: DD1 born 2001, DD2 born 2002, DD3 born March 2011