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Boston school-assignment letters in the mail

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After months of waiting and angst, parents across Boston began receiving letters Tuesday alerting them which school their children will attend this fall, the first notifications under a new student-assignment system, school officials announced.

The letters mark an annual rite in Boston that often brings elation to families who get one of their most coveted choices and heartache to those who receive none of their choices—or one they were less enthused about. Disappointed families sometimes flee to the suburbs.

But the new way of assigning students—replacing a system developed 25 years ago to comply with court-ordered desegregation—is potentially bringing more disappointment in many households. Fewer incoming kindergartners, for instance, received one of their top three choices.

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