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Because the demand for an admission slot at a New York charter school has gone up so drastically, most slots are given through their lottery system. As an example, a recent lottery for Harlem Success Academy for 9,000 applicants was to win one of only 1,000 openings.
Charter schools are required by law to allow admission to any student who wants to attend. But space has becoming increasingly limited. Charters do give preference to siblings of currently enrolled students, at-risk students and lastly, students who live within the district.
New York Laws Regarding the Lottery
According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, New York law requires that charter school admission be open to all students statewide and that the state department of education develop a “uniform student enrollment application.”
If the applications exceed the available seats in a charter school, the law requires that the school conduct a lottery. The state department of education regulates the lottery process.
How the Lottery Works
The lottery process is random for all applicants who don’t meet the preference-slot guidelines. Recently, schools have started to make the lottery drawings into a public event. But because so many students do not get picked for slots, it can be very difficult for parents attending the events who find out their children did not get admission.