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LAUSD simplifies its application process to boost enrollment

Four Los Angeles Unified School District board seats are up for election on March 3, 2015, three of them contested.
Four Los Angeles Unified School District board seats are up for election on March 3, 2015, three of them contested.
Roman Königshofer via Flickr Creative Commons

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Amidst a dizzying array of school choices available to families living in the Los Angeles Unified School District, keeping track of the various deadlines and forms when application time rolls around can be overwhelming, to say the least. But now, the district is considering ways to make it easier to enroll.

Southern California Public Radio’s Kyle Stokes joined Alex Cohen to answer some questions about the early stages of this plan.   

What schools are we talking about?

Things like magnet schools and permits to go to schools that are outside of your school area, your resident area, your open enrollment choices, your zones of choice- which is a different kind of option for getting into secondary schools- all of which have online applications, but then there’s yet more choices that don’t have online applications. Schools of advance studies, which are for gifted students or dual language immersion schools…those are not online and you got a whole bunch of different choices.

What makes this process so difficult?

It’s a whole bunch of different applications, and again your talking about a whole bunch of different places to put them. Some of these are available online and some are not, and the thing that is just as important as the information that you have to put down are the deadlines. All of them have these different deadlines.

What’s the plan?

The key is that they’re talking about it, but a lot of really important people are doing the talking and what they want to do is take this kind of balkanized system and consolidate it, bring it into one place. They want to create something like one-stop shopping, one online portal where parents can apply to most of the district's choice options in one place, with one application and again critically with one deadline.

When will this common application roll out?

It’s very early stages in this process…They’re not putting this on a timeline yet, but they’re really pushing because they’ve lost over 200,000 student over the past 13 years, and the enrollment piece is a big part of that. 

Will charter schools be included in the "one-stop-shop" application?

That’s not the plan at this point…it’s not being framed in so many words but it’s a response to the charter school movement…100,000 students have enrolled in character schools so I think that the district sees and is acknowledging in a sideways way that when they don't make the choices clear, parents go to where the choice is clear and that might be to a charter school.

To learn more, check out this link to Kyle's article. 

Series: Good Schools

As part of its Good Schools series, Take Two looks at the education landscape in the Los Angeles area. That includes its public schools, magnets, charters, private institutions and dual-language programs. You’ll hear from parents, academics, teachers, kids and even a couple of TV show producers.

Read more in this series and let us know your thoughts on Facebook, or tweet us @Take Two and @KPCC with the hashtag #goodschools.