Open Enrollment FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Open Enrollment?

February 3, 2020 – February 14, 2020

When is the lottery?


How does the lottery work?

After the two week Open Enrollment period, we get more applications than we have space available, so a lottery is conducted. During the lottery, numbers are randomly drawn by the priority you applied under and individually assigned to an alphabetical list of students. Parents are welcome to join us during this process. Afterwards, we will re-order the list numerically and this will create our waiting list. We will be able to determine who is accepted into the school from this numerical list according to the number of openings in each grade level.

How do the priority levels work?

There are five (5) priorities:
1st Incoming siblings of currently enrolled students.
2nd Employees and District representatives: (a) assigned to Downtown School as the employee’s primary place of employment or (b) without a District school as place of employment.
3rd A student whose parent resides within the District’s attendance boundaries, works within the downtown business area and who needs daycare.
4th A student whose parent works in the designated downtown business area, resides outside the District attendance boundaries and who needs daycare.
5th All others who have established residency based upon employment anywhere in the District’s boundaries regardless of daycare needs.

My child currently has a brother/sister enrolled at Downtown Elementary. Since that gives me 1st priority, don’t I automatically get in?

Not necessarily. Although you would have 1st priority, a lottery is still conducted. There is always a possibility that we would have more 1st priority applicants than space available – if that were the case then not all the 1st priority students would be accepted for enrollment.

I work downtown – is my child automatically enrolled?

No – You still have to participate in the Open Enrollment and Lottery process. There are many people who will apply and we have to conduct the lottery to ensure fairness to all applicants.

When I fill out the Enrollment Agreement, what grade do I apply under?

Remember, you are applying for next school year. You need to be sure to indicate the grade level your child will be in for the 2020-2021 school year.

What boundaries determine “Downtown?”

The boundaries are like a square: 34th Street, Oak Street, California Avenue, and Union Avenue. If your employer’s address is within or on these boundaries, you are considered to work “Downtown.”

How do I know what kind of transfer to file?

This depends on where you live. If your HOME address is within Bakersfield City School District, you should file an INTRA District Transfer Request. This form is available at Downtown Elementary. The form is completed and returned to the school with the required documentation. If your HOME address is outside of BCSD, you need to file a Residency Based on Employment Transfer Request. This form is available from the Student Services department at the Education Center – 1300 Baker Street. The form is completed there and also turned in there with the completed enrollment application.

If I have children currently attending Downtown Elementary, do I still have to apply during Open Enrollment?

YES! Just because your older children are already here, does not mean that we will assume their brothers/sisters will be coming too. BE SURE TO APPLY during Open Enrollment. You will still have to file the application and appropriate transfer request.

Is it possible for a student in a grade higher than Kindergarten to be accepted?

YES! Students in grades 1-8 are accepted depending on changes in currently enrolled students. Some may move out of town or change schools creating openings for lottery students. Remember, you have to apply to be accepted so don’t forget to turn your paperwork in by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, February 14.

If I have more than one student, what happens if one gets in but the other doesn’t?

The lottery is by definition a gamble. It is very possible that one child would get in and the other would be on the waiting list for their grade. However, don’t forget that siblings get first priority for enrollment. So if one sibling gets in, the other would have first priority next year!

If my student is enrolled in Downtown School, are they guaranteed a place in all future grades?

Not guaranteed, but generally a child beginning in Kindergarten is eligible to continue through all grades offered at Downtown School. Enrollment in Downtown School is based upon an Intradistrict, Interdistrict Permit, or parent employment. If the reasons on which initial enrollment was granted changes (e.g., no longer work within District boundaries, criteria for Interdistrict permit no longer applicable), the District will try hard to help you find another legally acceptable reason to permit continued attendance of your student.