Friday’s deadline to apply for PBC school choice pushed back a week 

11:43 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 Local
The closing of Odyssey Middle and the resulting new school assigments contributed to the decision to extend the school choice application deadline one week. (Palm Beach Post file photo)

The deadline to apply for a seat in one of Palm Beach County’s school choice programs has been extended by a week, giving students until Friday, Feb. 2 to apply, the school district announced Tuesday.  

The district made the move in consideration of a boundary change for about 1,900 middle schoolers in the Boynton Beach region that was formalized only last week and the impending release of report cards which are due out just two days before the original deadline. 

District officials wanted to give families more time to consider their options, said Pete Licata, assistant superintendent for the division of choice and innovation. 

The extension pushes back the original Friday, Jan. 26 deadline by exactly a week. The extension does not apply to those seeking a spot in a performing arts program with a required audition. That deadline was Dec. 1, 2017, in order to schedule auditions before the lottery is run.

About 12,000 seats are open in the district’s 310 choice programs. Some 22,000 students are expected to apply for those openings. The extension gives parents another week to consider options, but it will not delay the lottery or the timing of acceptance notices which will go out March 29, Licata said.

The school board voted last spring to close Odyssey Middle School which has been losing students to nearby charters for years and was running half empty. The process to then reassign the 1,900 students living within that school’s boundaries was put on a fast track. The board finalized the changes at a meeting last week.

“The boundary change for so many kids occurred last week. We want to make sure those parents in those communities understand all of the options available to them,” Licata said. “It doesn’t change our process.”

Also, Licata said, considerations were made because report cards go home Jan. 24, just two days before applications for choice programs were due. Some of those programs require students meet a certain GPA in order to apply.

While the number of programs with grade requirements are few a new average could influence decisions. 

“We want to make sure parents aren’t making a decision based on an old GPA,” Licata said.