Attention parents of 5-year-olds in Champaign: today is the last day of kindergarten registration under Unit 4's controlled-choice system.
Registration will continue until 4:30 p.m. at the Family Information Center, 405 E. Clark St., C.
Director Hattie Paulk said traffic was fairly steady this morning with families who "realize it's the last day." Close to 600 children have registered for kindergarten so far this month, though she didn't have an exact count.
Last year the center registered more than 700 kindergarten students, a record. Paulk said she's seeing more families switching from private schools because of the economy.
Under controlled choice, parents list their top three choices for an elementary school. They will be notified of their child's school assignment by mail later this spring.
The district uses a computer system to process applications and balance school enrollments based on parent choice, family socioeconomic status, building capacity, availability of special programs, presence of siblings in the school and proximity preference.
Almost 90 percent of families who register in the spring get one of their top three choices, Paulk said.
The system was developed in response to complaints by African-American families about racial inequities among schools. But the Supreme Court later ruled that using race as a factor in determining school assignments is unconstitutional, so the district replaced it with economic status.
Paulk said her staff has been contacting families who already have older children in school to remind them to register their 5-year-olds. If the children don't register now, they won't benefit from sibling preference, which almost guarantees they will wind up in the school with their older brother or sister.
Proof of Champaign residence is required at registration today.
For more information, go to www.champaignschools.org.