Parents frustrated after JP announces charter school lottery do-over

Parents crushed after JP school lottery goes wrong

JEFFERSON PARISH, LA (WVUE) - After believing their children were in the best position for a great education, some parents are now frustrated, saying it was taken from them.

The Kenner Discovery Health and Sciences Academy, a charter school under the Jefferson Parish School System, held a lottery to accept pre-k students.

Just last Friday, they had to notify parents they would have to re-do the lottery.

Seventy-two families were called back to see if a lottery would place their child in Kenner Discovery. Forty of those families already received their acceptance letters, including Angela Portera and her daughter Mia. Portera says she was already talking with other parents, deep in back-to-school preparations for their children, especially for their children who require individual education or disability plans.

"We'd discuss uniforms and school supplies and introduce our children to each other to prepare them," said Portera.

This time, Mia did not win the lottery.

"It's not just getting in to pre-k, we were getting in all the way through high school and this is an A grade school that would give our children all the services they need," said Portera.

The Jefferson Parish Early Childhood Collaborative sent out a round of letters when they found the error, notifying parents they would hold a second public lottery.

Ted Beasley, the communications coordinator for the Jefferson Parish School System, says they're still investigating what went wrong in the first lottery drawing, but he says it did not treat students equally.

In this second drawing, they wanted to try to be as transparent as possible.

"Once we looked at that and realized the system had been flawed, we thought the best way to fix that would be to redo the lottery. We understand the frustrations that are going to come with receiving a pending seat and then reenter the lottery," said Beasley.

Portera says both she and her daughter were excited to start the school year, but she doesn't see a second lottery as the solution to a system error.

"We want them to honor the placement, the original placement letters," she said. "If there's some kind of system error, I feel they should act in good faith, honor it, and look into something to fix next year."

The lottery only affected those families who had Kenner Discovery as their first choice. The families who did not win the lottery the second time around can contact the school with any more questions or help with selling back uniforms.

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