I don’t buy lottery tickets. Unless, as it turns out, the prize is a place in kindergarten this September for our five-year-old.
We learned yesterday there are 101 other families in our tiny downtown catchment area who also have children turning five this year. Over the past three months, we all hand-delivered applications for our in-catchment children to attend kindergarten at Elsie Roy Elementary School in September, 2015. In a long-awaited email confirming lottery results, the school’s principal first explained that of only 44 available kindergarten spaces, 31 went to students with siblings already in attendance at Elsie Roy. That left 13 spaces for the remaining 71 kindergarten applicants. By my calculation, that meant a 16.84% chance of ‘winning’ one of those spaces in the draw (an 83% chance of not winning). Why did we bother crossing our fingers, I wondered? We did not beat the odds. Our daughter’s number on the waiting list for kindergarten was accompanied by an encouraging “regardless of the (overflow) school your child attends next year for kindergarten, we are confident that his or her school experience will be a positive one.”
As the city rubber-stamps seemingly every new condo tower proposal in the name of increasing density, perhaps more classrooms could be incorporated in the plan. While it’s reported a new elementary school at International Village will open in 2017, a kindergarten capacity of 60 suggests that for many more families, the lotteries will continue.