Lawmaker calls for performance audit of lottery system for Orleans schools

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A state lawmaker is requesting a legislative audit of the lottery system used to enroll children in Orleans Parish schools. It comes after public outcry that some children didn't get placed at any of the schools they requested.

Delika Jones had to explain to her 14-year-old daughter that she didn't get accepted to the school of her choice.

"She's been crying, she's upset," said Jones. "She wanted to try out for the dance team. She's been talking about Edna Karr for three years."

Jones and other Orleans Parish parents are frustrated with the computerized lottery system for enrollment. It's called OneApp, and it's been used since 2012. Parents can apply to up to eight schools, ranking their favorite choices. This year, 17,000 applications were processed. Seventy-five percent of families were assigned to one of their choices, but 25 percent of those applicants didn't get any of their picks. Students are not assigned to a random school, so that means those parents will now have to go through the process again.

"I live exactly 1 mile away from Edna Karr, and my daughter didn't get in," said Jones.

State Rep. Joseph Bouie Jr., D-District 97, has also heard the complaints about OneApp. That's why he's asking the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to audit the admissions system.

"That's been one of the unintended consequences of that particular experimental approach is that it literally has removed all neighborhood schools in the City of New Orleans," Bouie said. "I mean, we have several children all over the city who get up at 5:30 in the morning to board buses that actually pass up one or two neighborhood schools to be bused to a failing school across town."

FOX 8 reached out to the Orleans Parish School Board about the audit, and the board sent the following statement:

"Consistently, enrollment and transportation have been top issues of concern for community members and families. That is why at the April OPSB board meeting we will finalize a contract for a firm that would work with families, students, school leaders, Enroll NOLA, bus companies and others to analyze each aspect of the enrollment and transportation systems, collect data and capture key insights from individuals both in and out of this complicated system."

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