Peabody Charter School Principal Demian Barnett pulled name after name out of a plastic bucket Wednesday morning for the Santa Barbara school’s first of four attendance lotteries.
The first lottery was only for those living within the attendance boundaries, and priority is given to siblings of current Peabody students. The K-6 school in Santa Barbara’s San Roque neighborhood is capped at 750 students and has to hold a lottery every year since demand for seats is so high.
No seats were guaranteed after Wednesday’s lottery pull, but every applicant was given a priority number that will determine how spots are given away later.
All 96 of the kindergarten students who applied so far will get in, as they usually do, Barnett said.
Other grades are harder to get into, and Barnett said they’ll know more about how many students they can admit once class sizes are finalized in a few months. Competition is fierce, and not even all the children who live within the school’s boundaries can get into classes.
“No one from outside the attendance area can even sign up until June,” office coordinator Holly Christopher Muñoz said.
Peabody will have lotteries on April 3, June 5 and Aug. 7, and transfers from other schools or other districts will only be accepted June 10-28.
Santa Barbara Unified School District pupil services director Marlin Sumpter attended and said it’s typical to have many transfer applications for second and third grade across the entire district.
Board of Education president Monique Límon also went to Wednesday’s lottery, saying she had never seen one in the district.
Since Peabody is a charter, it conducts its own lottery. Sumpter’s office oversees lotteries every year for Roosevelt and Washington elementary schools, since more people always apply than there are seats.
The number of applicants varies from year to year, and the lotteries will probably happen in mid-March, he said.
“Last year at Washington there were approximately 75 applications for five spaces schoolwide at different grade levels,” Sumpter said. “At Roosevelt, there were approximately 50 applications for five spaces schoolwide.”
The transfer period for other SBUSD schools ends Feb. 19. To move from one school in the district to another, parents have to submit applications to Sumpter’s office.