The School Department based its projection on the number of families in the past who listed at least five schools on their initial registration forms and did not receive any of their choices. The department then considered how many of those families made more than one visit to a family resource center.
“The number 5 was decided on because when parents make fewer than five choices, they tend to be pretty set on wanting one of those schools, while parents who make more than five choices tend to be more open to receiving a seat somewhere in the city,” Wilder said in an e-mail.
Councilor John Connolly, who has been pushing for the School Department to guarantee kindergarten seats at schools closest to a family’s home, said the policy change was a step in the right direction but may not go far enough.
“A spot at the closest available school doesn’t mean a spot at a school close to home,” Connolly said. “I’m worried it won’t really address parent anxiety and confusion when we know the bulk of the elementary schools already have wait lists and a shortage of seats.”
An advisory committee appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino is examining recommendations to change the School Department’s assignment process so more students can attend schools close to their homes.
The committee could vote this month on recommendations, which could create smaller assignment zones or limit choices to a certain number of schools near a student’s home.