The school choice lottery for the Leon County 2021 school year was completed on March 22. Leon High ranked the highest with 241 first choice requests. Lincoln High came in second for first choice picks with 157 hopefuls and Chiles High had 85 first choice requests.
The percentage of acceptance for the top three schools was quite low. Leon High granted only 13% of the 361 students who preferred to attend the school. From the 287 students who wanted to attend Lincoln High only 23% were accepted. While Chiles High allowed for 25% of the 155 total students. Godby High and Rickards High both granted over 50% of the students who chose to attend their schools.
In recent years, the school choice program has been a hotly debated topic in Leon County. Superintendent Rocky Hanna changed the program to a lottery system which allowed for students to select schools out of their zone based on capacity levels. The system was designed to keep costs down by largely eliminating new construction and the increase of portables to accommodate student’s past capacity. This sentiment was echoed by Hanna stating, “you can’t have an elementary school with 2,000 children, you just can’t.”
A study released by the LeRoy Collins Institute in 2017 ranked Leon County as one of the most segregated school districts in the state. Hanna has gone on record stating that segregated school districts in Leon County was an “unintended consequence of school choice…kids with the means and transportation could go wherever they wanted and those without are where they are.” Though, under the current system put in place by Hanna, transportation still must be provided by parent/legal guardian.