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County school choice options

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:14 PM

Hillsborough School Choice Options

Since the mid-1990s, Hillsborough County Public Schools have increased the options for parents to choose a school for their child besides the one assigned to them based on their address.

Three times during the year, an application window opens to allow students the chance to enroll at a school of their choice. According to the school district, nearly 25,000 of the county's more than 190,000 students have chosen to attend a school of choice.

Most have made the decision based on academic reasons, but some are using the choice option to attend a school primarily for athletic purposes, which is against the district's rules but difficult to enforce.

For all high school students in the county, the choices are:

Attendance area: Attend the school based on the student's true address. Families do not need to complete an application for their children to attend or remain at their attendance area school.

Magnet: Theme-based curriculum taught by specially-trained teachers. Schools include Tampa Bay Tech, Middleton, Blake, Jefferson.

Choice: Provides the opportunity to apply to a non-magnet school or career and technical education program outside the student's attendance area school so long as the desired school is below its designated capacity.

Hardship: Allows students with a documented hardship the opportunity to submit a request for a school that is capped, outside their assigned area or not available for school choice. Applications are only reviewed for residents of Hillsborough County.

Out-of-county: Applications are available for students living in neighboring counties as a courtesy.

Other options: Include charter schools, home schools, Florida Virtual and Hillsborough Virtual (online) schools and options for military families and students with disabilities or special needs.

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