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School Balloting FAQ 2019

School Balloting FAQ 2019
Posted on 01/11/2019
Online Ballot

Frequently Asked Questions about School Balloting:


Q: What programs are available at Chestnut TAG?

Chestnut Talented and Gifted Middle School provides all students a high caliber education in a challenging and supportive culture of academic excellence. T.A.G. teachers and staff empower students to sharpen their literacy, numeracy, and technological competencies to become analytical thinkers prepared for college and career readiness. Students accepted to Chestnut T.A.G. will have a unique opportunity to learn and grow in the sheltered setting of other highly motivated advanced learners. T.A.G. students master the advanced content knowledge needed for success in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in high school. They will also visit college campuses and classrooms, interact with scholars from competitive four-year colleges and universities and develop the practical knowledge needed for entrance in the top colleges in the country. Through high expectations set by highly qualified and supportive staff, students begin to see themselves as legitimate scholars with unlimited potential. In a supportive and challenging culture of academic excellence, T.A.G. students are empowered to take their place as both scholars and valuable members of their communities. Chestnut TAG will only appear as an option for selection if a student meets the program’s entrance requirements.


Q: Who is eligible to cast a High School Choice or Magnet Ballot?

Students who legally reside in Springfield. Students must have a Springfield Public School (referred to as SPS) Student ID number and be active in the database. Parents of students not currently enrolled in SPS must register first and obtain an SPS Student ID number at the PACE Center.


Q: Where do I go to cast a Ballot?

Casting a ballot for a High School or Magnet School takes place online during the Magnet Enrollment/Online Balloting Period. If your child already has a student ID number, you may ballot anytime from any computer anywhere during this enrollment period.

If you do not have access to a computer with Internet access, computers are available for your use at the PACE Center, your student’s school with their counselor, or at the Springfield City Library.


Q: How do I cast a Ballot?

During the enrollment period, the ballot is accessible through the SPS website ( Parents or guardians must certify that they are authorized to make the selection for the student and will be asked to enter the child’s Student ID number and Date of Birth (DOB).


If you have any questions about which school to select, please seek out the answers to your questions first by contacting your child’s school counselor and then cast your ballot before the last day of the Magnet Balloting period. You should be very certain of your choices since you will NOT have an opportunity to change them after you complete the ballot. 

If you need assistance filling out the online form, please call or visit the PACE Center. They will be able to answer your questions and assist you in person.


Q: What happens after I cast my Ballot?

After you complete your ballot you will be provided with a confirmation number; we recommend that you print out and keep this number in a safe place since it is your assurance that you have successfully completed your submission during the ballot period. 

Your ballot submission will be saved until the end of the enrollment/ballot period.  At that time, all ballots will be entered into the randomized computer lottery.  As each ballot is uploaded from the server it is provided with a random number. The computer is programmed to sort the ballots based on school, your selection number (1st, 2nd, 3rd choice), and the number of available seats.

Balloting first does not mean you have a better chance of getting your first choice of placement! Assignment is made by randomizing all submitted ballots.


Q: When will I hear if my child got into the school I want?

After the lottery process and the assignments noted above are completed, families will be notified in writing in April.

Since student assignment letters are mailed to your home of record, please make sure that the PACE Enrollment office has your up-to-date address.  This will avoid confusion at the beginning of the school year.


Q: What if my child wants to attend Putnam?

-          Putnam Vocational-Technical Academy has additional requirements to attend. Students must meet the qualifying score between 60 and 80 to be able to ballot for Putnam. Due to capacity limitations, only students with Putnam Scores between 60 and 80 can select Putnam as a choice on their ballot.” Admission is not guaranteed, if more students apply than there are seats, students will be admitted in order of their Putnam score (highest to lowest).



Q: What if my child does not get his/her first choice?

Once the computer has gone through all of the 1st choice selections and made assignments based on the number of seats available at each grade in that school, the remainder of the students who applied for that school but did not receive it (meaning there were more students wanting to go there than seats available) will automatically be placed on the waiting list for his/her 1st choice school only.


The computer will then go back and look at all of the 2nd choice selections for each school and grade and fill those seats if any remain open after going through the 1st choice selections.


Q: I made 4 selections and didn’t get any of my choices.  How did that happen?

Students are placed based on their preference (1st, 2nd, 3rd choice, etc.) and the number of available seats at any grade level.  If there are fewer 1st choice applicants choosing a particular school than seats available, everyone is assigned there, meaning if there are 30 seats open and 26 pick it as their first choice, they all get in and there is no need to run a lottery.  When there are more applicants than seats available, the lottery kicks in.


Many schools fill up on the first assignment round, which may mean that many parents selected a school as their 1st choice first that you put as your 2nd choice school.  If the seats are already filled by the time the computer makes assignments for 2nd choice selections there are no longer any open seats, so your 2nd choice would not be honored. 


In some cases there may be seats available at a school you selected as your 3rd choice (meaning that not all of the seats were filled in assignment rounds 1 and 2) so your child could be assigned to that school, however the lower the preference for a particular school (3rd, 4th, 5th choice, etc.) the less likely it is that there are unfilled seats.


In most cases the available seats are filled during the first two assignment rounds. For this reason it is essential that you know from the outset which school(s) you are interested in applying for since the chances are they will be filled early on in the lottery process.


Q: Is the number of seats the only factor that determines if a student is assigned to one of his/her schools of choice?


No. There are other considerations that can impact a student’s assignment, for example if your child has programmatic needs (Special Education services that are available only in select schools, a language program that is only offered in a few schools, etc.) he or she may be assigned to a different school than the schools you selected.  These assignments are made by the appropriate departments within SPS after careful review and consideration of what school can provide the services that your child needs.


Q: Do siblings get preference for entrance into the same school?

Yes.  Siblings (defined as children who share at least one common parent/guardian and reside at the same address) do get preference for student assignments IF you balloted and selected the school as your first choice during the High School and Magnet enrollment/ballot period.

The SPS Sibling Preference Policy provides assignment preference to a younger sibling who has an older sibling currently attending the desired school AND who will continue to be attending in the upcoming school year over students who do not have a qualifying sibling. The sibling policy applies to entry grade levels at the designated magnet and/or high school.  Appropriate entry grade levels are defined in the online ballots.  The parent/guardian must complete the online ballot during the registration timeframe.  This policy is in effect for the Magnet and High School Choice Process.  


The sibling preference policy also applies to Putnam, but the student MUST have a qualifying score.


Q: I went through the Ballot process but changed my mind and want to switch my choices.  Can I do that?

Unfortunately, no.  Once a ballot has been cast the computer program will not allow you to enter another ballot for that student.  For this reason, we urge you to get as much information as possible about the schools you are interested in having your child attend before you make your selections.  You may also want to call the schools you are interested in to make arrangements to tour the school and get a feel for the learning environment to determine which school is the best match for your child.

Need more information? 

More Information on enrolling your child into Springfield Public Schools is available by calling the PACE Center at 413.787.6959


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