DENVER – Marie Heaton just wants to get her son into a middle school in the Montbello area. But, after going through the Denver Public Schools' SchoolChoice process, she received a letter with unexpected news.
"I have one child who was wait listed at five schools," Heaton said.
All this week, parents around Denver have received letter stating which schools their children have been accepted to. Heaton cannot believe her son's initial status is to not be have a place at any school near their home.
"No information on how soon you should know more, where you should go from here," Heaton said. "Are you supposed to re-submit more schools?"
Superintendent Tom Boasberg says this is just the beginning of the choice enrollment rounds. He says parents should be patient.
"All families are guaranteed a seat in one of their neighborhood schools in that area," Boasberg said.
He does admit that the initial letters home may not be explicit enough for parents on where their child may attend school next year.
But, Heaton says the real issue is that there are not enough seats in quality programs for all the kids in the Montbello and Stapleton areas. She says all the parents apply to the same programs that have proven results.
"I'm wondering why it's so difficult to replicate programs that are working," Heaton said. "What is it that they're doing that's allowing them to be so successful?"
Boasberg says the district is doing exactly that.
"More than three times as many students go to schools that are rated in the top two tiers than just three years ago," Boasberg said.
He says the DPS has been working on building more schools in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, and Stapleton where kids outnumber the current seats available in nearby classrooms.
"It doesn't happen instantly, but there is extraordinary urgency around that," Boasberg said. "We need to move faster and that is at the center of what we're doing."
For Heaton, things did change after 9News made some inquiries into her situation.
"Now that you say you called them that somebody called and offered me a spot, but that doesn't make it okay," Heaton said.
The district says it was just coincidence and Heaton was on a list of parents to be called Thursday to be notified of acceptance into one of her top five school choices.
DPS officials point out that last year 96 percent of families who applied to five schools were accepted at one of those five schools.
"I think we should be shooting for 100 percent," Heaton said.