Aspen Schools

Aspen School District held its first open enrollment lottery in more than a decade on Thursday. Around 25 out-of-districts were offered spots, out of 71 that applied.

Aspen School District held its first open enrollment lottery in more than a decade Thursday, selecting around 25 out-of district students to join classes next fall out of 71 that applied.

Technically, the district received a total of 96 applications, according to an email from Superintendent John Maloy, but 25 of those were duplicates, so 71 applications were entered into the morning lottery. The applicants were assigned random three digit-numbers that were entered into a drawing using an electric random number generator. Observers included the superintendent, each building’s principal, administrative assistants and a technology specialist.

The school district announced last month that it was looking to fill around 25 spots to make up for a drop in enrollment that was particularly affecting lower grades. Grades where out-of-district students could be accepted were limited to kindergarten, first, second, sixth, eighth and 11th.

District officials on Thursday afternoon were calling families that had won a spot in the lottery. If a family declined, the school would move to the next in line, according to the lottery results, until all slots are filled.

The addition of out-of-district students will not push any class sizes above existing recommended thresholds, according to information sent to parents. At the primary level (grades K-2) the range is 16-18 students per class; and at the secondary level (grades 5-12) it’s an average of 20-22 students per class.

Maloy said in an interview last month that this is the first time in his 12 years as superintendent where out-of-district families have been invited to apply for enrollment.

“Our enrollment at kindergarten especially over the last couple of years has been lower than average,” Maloy said. “We are trying to build up, especially at the lower grade level, over the long haul.”

 

Curtis Wackerle is the editor of Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at curtis@aspendailynews.com or on Twitter @CurtisWackerle.