Indianapolis families will likely have an easier way to apply for schools next fall.
Indianapolis Public Schools board members are set to vote Thursday on a proposal to join a common enrollment system that would allow families to use a single process to apply simultaneously to traditional public schools and potentially dozens of local charter schools.
Instead of the current system, which requires parents to keep track of a mess of different enrollment deadlines and to drive around the city to gather multiple school applications, the new system will let parents apply to multiple schools through a single lottery process, ranking their favorites in hopes of landing seats for their children in top-choice schools.
If the board decides to join the new system, it would launch next fall for students enrolling in 2018-2019 school year.
(The board will hear from the public before the vote. Speakers must sign up by noon Wednesday on the district website.)
Enroll Indy, a nonprofit headed by former school board member Caitlin Hannon, will launch an informational website tomorrow that will lay the groundwork for the common enrollment portal. It will include basic information on schools like their educational focus, test scores and demographics.
Enroll Indy will also run several information centers, where staff will help parents use the site, find potential schools and navigate the admissions process.
Common enrollment is an idea that has gotten strong support from education leaders in Indianapolis, but there was a hitch in the plan earlier this fall when some school board members suggested it was being rushed. Leaders of the nonprofit chose to begin with an information site instead of launching a common enrollment system this year.
Although some charter schools have already decided to participate in common enrollment, it is unclear how many are on board. If charter school participation is below 80 percent, IPS can cancel plans to join the system.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.