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School choice enrollment begins Tuesday

BRADENTON -- Manatee County School District officials will open enrollment for school choice Tuesday, giving parents the opportunity to apply for their children to attend a school outside of their attendance zone.

The enrollment period lasts from Jan. 18 to Feb. 4.

“It’s not first-come, first-served,” said Danny Lundeen, supervisor of student demographics/projection and assignment.

“We try to create a balance between the school the student is leaving and the school the student is going to. We don’t want to deplete any particular schools.”

Applications will be considered based on school capacity, the student’s proximity to the selected school and other “demographic” factors.

Students can pick up applications at their current school or online at or the district’s Parent Information Center at 234 Manatee Ave. E.

Lundeen said all applications should be turned into the Parent Information Center.

At least 1,500 students take advantage of school choice, Lundeen said. Braden River High, King Middle and Mills Elementary schools are closed to school choice.

However, parents may use school choice to enroll children in International Baccalaureate programs offered at Wakeland Elementary, Johnson Middle and Southeast High schools.

District officials advise parents that families must live more than two miles away from the school for which they have ap- plied to be eligible for transportation.

The application also asks parents to list more than one school if their two choices are available.

Choice specialist Wendy Holden said some parents take advantage of the numerous open houses that occur this time of year to determine the specific school they want their child to attend.