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Parents play the odds in Harmony Charter School lottery

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TWC News: Parents play the odds in Harmony Charter School lottery
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Students and parents played the odds Wednesday during a lottery for admission to one of five Harmony Charter Schools in Central Texas.

According to the Texas Charter School Association, there were 4,300 applicants vying for 850 open spots.

For many parents the appeal is smaller class sizes and more demanding academic schedule. Harmony schools average about 350 students per campus.

"You know I would like them to be challenged. It seems like when I ask them 'What did you do in school today? What did you learn?' It’s like 'oh nothing really.' They don't want to talk about it. I would like them to have a better education," Parent Derek Fuentes said.

The parents of children whose numbers were called were able to start the application process for a spot at one of the schools in the fall.

Harmony is the biggest member of the Texas Charter School Association, educating about 20,000 kids statewide.

According to the Executive Director of the Texas Charter Schools Association, schools like Harmony have been around for about 15 years. Generally they have smaller class sizes and some focus on certain subjects, which give parents a free alternative to traditional public schooling.

"We have got a number of charter schools, who have a laser like focus on getting their kids ready for college and thinking about college from the minute they crossed the door, and that is an attraction for many, many parents," David Dunn with the Texas Charter School Association said.

Students had to apply by mid-March to be entered in the lottery.

While some parents left knowing where there kids would be in the fall, others will have to continue to wait.

Raghu G's son was wait-listed for Kindergarten.

"Given that there are a lot of applications, it seems to be growing and growing. So I will wait. We have two other schools that we have applied for so hopefully my son will get into one of the other two," he said.

The Texas Charter School Association does not have a formal relationship with the Austin Independent School District, but officials say they have a positive relationship.

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