Philly charter school lottery shows effects of district closures

March 13, 2013 4:17:00 AM PDT
A thousand kids applied to get in, but there's only room for a little more than 100.

On Tuesday night, Global Leadership Academy Charter School in West Philadelphia held its lottery for grades kindergarten through 8.

Parents were on the edge of their seats because they know what's at stake.

Parent Kevin Hite of Southwest Philadelphia explains, "You try to do the best for your kids and the best situation as far as school, for her starting kindergarten you want her to start in one of the better schools in the area."

About 500 more parents joined the gamble this year. GLA believes it's because of the controversy surrounding Philadelphia School District closures.

Roxane Johnson's soon to be second grade daughter attends Overbrook Elementary, which was slated to close. The school was recently spared, but Roxane still wanted options.

"I made a move to try and apply for another school for her and hopefully tonight is a good night for her," Roxane said.

Once those names were called, there was a lot of joy.

"I'm excited. I'm happy. My oldest son goes to GLA so I know what's in store and I'm happy," Nicole Chism of West Philadelphia said.

But there was also disappointment.

"I'm just looking for a good school for my kids because right now they've been at three different public schools and they all have failing scores," Corvette Johnson of North Philadelphia said.

As for Roxane Johnson, it wasn't her lucky day either.

"Who knows what's going to happen next year with the public school system, so I'm going to try to get my daughter in a steady school," Roxane said.

While the families left the school gymnasium with different emotions, many would agree they all feel the same frustration when it comes to this process.

"It should not be like this. It should not be that people don't have the right to send their children to any school in this city," Global Leadership Academy CEO Dr. Naomi Johnson Booker said.

For those who didn't win one of those classroom seats, their parents know the lesson here is don't give up.