Enrolling in the San Francisco Unified School District Lottery System – How does it work?

Okay, so we are moving to the Bay Area and we have to figure out where to live.  We figure out where to live based upon schools available for my 5 year old daughter.  We are really into school and her education so this is the most important thing.  So, after reviewing the various areas available we settle on either the Walnut Creek area, Marin, or the Sunset area.  Walnut Creek and Marin are easy – where you live determines which school district and school you attend.  With the Sunset area, we will be in the San Francisco Unified School District, which is, shall we say a little more challenging in determining which school we are going to attend.  Bottom line, we can end up attending a school across town, even if we have a perfectly good school across the street.

Starting with the SFUSD website, you are able to open a Guide to Elementary Schools .pdf, very fancy as well, that introduces you to various elementary schools. Of note, the very first stated Strategic Plan goal is “Access and Equity: Make social justice a reality.”

Essentially if you are new to the area here’s the process and link:

1)  Go to the Educational Placement Center (EPC), 555 Franklin Street, Room 100.
2)  Receive assignment to a school based upon availability of openings.
3)  Bring:
a) Parent Guardian Photo ID
b) Proof of birth of child – Birth Certificate or Hospital Record
4)   Proof of Home Address:

  • One to two utility bills from different agencies such as PG&E, water, cable, or scavenger (No cell phone bills will be accepted)
  • Both automobile registration and auto insurance policy (Count as one proof)
  • Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy
  • Property tax assessment
  • Official letter from a social service/government agency
  • Grant deed, Title of property, rental/lease agreement with property owner’s documentation
  • Section 8 agreements

Elesewhere I found that if you go down to the EPC you can find out real time where there is availability.  I was told that you can, but they won’t give the information out over the phone.  So we will be heading down to the EPC ASAP upon arrival in San Francisco.

I’m a little skeptical of the lottery process but we’ll see.  I’ll post more after we meet with the EPC.

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