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New school assignment plan causes some confusion among parents

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Kimida Torres, a Dorchester mother, thought she had found the perfect school for her 5-year-old son: Orchard Gardens K-8 School in neighboring Roxbury. It had rising MCAS scores, an assortment of afterschool activities, and a preschool program -- giving her hope that her 3-year-old daughter could attend, too.

But when Torres shared her decision with a customer service representative at a school registration center in Dorchester, she received some startling news. Orchard Gardens was not an option, after all. Under Boston’s new student-assignment system, it was too far from their home.

“Oh, man,” a disappointed Torres responded in a soft voice.

For the past three weeks, thousands of parents of incoming kindergarten and sixth-grade students have been registering for school under the new system, the biggest change to the registration process in decades that aims to place students in schools closer to their homes starting this fall.

Denise Snyder, senior director of welcome services for the school system, acknowledges that some parents are caught off guard or confused by the new system.

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