SF school-assignment letters to be mailed out Monday night

Mar 21, 2017 by

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By Nanette Asimov –

The San Francisco Unified School District — where a snafu has delayed its mailing of all-important school-assignment letters — said it was “on track” to send them Monday night by first-class mail.

But the letters may still arrive too late for many parents facing deadlines this week for private-school tuition deposits, and who are counting on the information from the district to make their decisions. The nonrefundable deposits can amount to thousands of dollars, and many parents have been frantic over the prospect of losing large amounts of money.

In San Francisco, private schools set their deposit deadlines within a week of the public school district notifying parents about their children’s assignments. That lets parents decide whether to accept the public offer or turn to private school.

School applications for the San Francisco Unified School District are still done on paper.

But this year, “unforeseen staffing emergencies” delayed the district’s mailing of assignments for all 14,000 students, which was supposed to go out on Friday.

Now, school district officials say they expected to mail the letters Monday evening, and say the letters could arrive on Tuesday.

Or not.

The first private-school deadline — specifically for high school applicants requesting financial aid — is at noon Wednesday. Private elementary and middle-school deadlines are at noon Thursday, and the remaining private high school deadlines are at noon Friday.

If parents don’t get their deposit in on time, “we couldn’t guarantee anything,” said Danny Curtin, admissions director for Archbishop Riordan High School, a Catholic school for boys, on Phelan Avenue.

Other private schools contacted by The Chronicle gave similar answers.

The San Francisco district sends out public-school assignments by U.S. mail because “the letters provide the documentation families need to register at school sites and serves to further verify their address,” spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

However, parents facing an imminent private-school deadline who haven’t gotten a letter by Tuesday can email enrollinschool@sfusd.edu.

“We will do what we can to help you after March 21,” says a notice on the district’s website.

Blythe said she couldn’t say more about the staffing problem because of employee confidentiality. She said part of the problem was that the district has to be certain that the assignments — 83,000 school options for 14,000 students — are correct. Employees are “working around the clock” to make it work, the website notice said.

Parents considering private-school options aren’t the only ones inconvenienced by the mailing debacle, said Annie Bauccio, interim executive director for the advocacy group Parents for Public Schools.

“Some people are waiting on job offers that depend on what school” they choose, Bauccio said. Others are “considering moving across town and have two days to tell the landlord.”

“Things like that feed the frustration,” she said. “It’s a whole universe of potential complications having to do with siblings, family, life choices — all waiting for this one piece of information.”

Source: SF school-assignment letters to be mailed out Monday night – SFGate

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