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Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 10:44 a.m.

Want to change schools? Ann Arbor is taking in-district transfer applications

By Danielle Arndt

Ann Arbor Public Schools is now accepting in-district transfer applications for the 2012-13 academic year.

Applications must be submitted by March 16. If more students apply than seats are available, a lottery will take place at the schools for those seats.


Abbot Elementary file photo

Each year, Ann Arbor’s research and student enrollment departments work with the individual building staff to determine the number of available seats based on capacity and current class sizes.

The staff looks at projections of incoming kindergarteners, kindergarteners moving on to first grade as well as fifth-graders moving on to the middle schools, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis. Rarely does the district open up spots at the high schools, she added.

Once in-district transfers are set, the district uses the same projections to determine Schools of Choice options, which are expected to be announced in March, Margolis said.

Last year, AAPS opened up a second window for in-district transfers after Schools of Choice was determined. Margolis said a decision on a second window for this year has not been made yet.

Families will be notified by mid-April if their applications were accepted.

Ten spots, same as last year, are open at each of Ann Arbor’s traditional middle schools, Clague, Forsythe, Scarlett, Slauson and Tappan.

Abbot, Carpenter, Dicken, Eberwhite, Lakewood, Logan, Northside and Pittsfield will be open to in-district transfers. According to the AAPS website, actual numbers will be determined after further monitoring of enrollment projections.

Allen was not included on this year’s list. Recent capacity data indicates Allen is operating at about 77.4 percent full.

Last year, Angell was open only for kindergarteners. But for the upcoming school year, first grade will have a limited number of spots as well. Margolis anticipates there will be five spots at each grade.

King and Burns Park were not open to in-district transfers last year but they do have a limited number of spots in kindergarten and first grade for fall.

Lawton only has kindergarten open this coming school year, as opposed to first and K.

Pattengill has open spots in third through fifth grade, while Thurston added space in second-grade. Thurston just had first and kindergarten last year.

Transportation is not provided to families that accept in-district transfer offers.

For more information or to download an application, visit Ann Arbor Public Schools' in-district transfer website.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

The kicker is that school of choice ends at each level, so a student could go to an elementary school, but once middle school comes around, there is zero guarantee that they can track with their peers to the middle school that they would normally attend. If there is space at that middle school, maybe they get in. But if there isn't, this student is taken away from the peer group they went to school with from K-5. If Ann Arbor had it figured out, school of choice would allow students to continue the track from elementary, to middle, to high school with the kids they started school with. But because that makes sense, I am guessing that won't happen.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

My child go in through school of choice as well as a 1st grader. Now, as she enters middle school, they are not guaranteeing her a spot in the middle school that all of her elementary peers will be going to. It sounds like it worked out for jns131, but right now I have a very anxious daughter who wants to continue on with her friends and peer group to middle school. I am proposing that if Ann Arbor allows school of choice, they should be allowed to go from level to level with there peers, from elementary, to middle, then to high school. Right now, that isn't guaranteed.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Mine entered into AAPS system thru school choice. Mine is going thru the system with her peers into the same grade and on to graduation. So I can see how this tracking system can be used.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

Key words here are "...because that makes sense, I am guessing that won't happen" so true in AAPS!

Jim Mulchay

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

More a question than a comment - If school choice (within the district) is beneficial, should the AAPS consider scrapping attendance boundaries and make all schools "open enrollment" on a "first come - first enrolled" basis with in the AAPS district? A second question - if a family can choose (with limits) the school their children attend, how does the district maintain appropriate diversity within the schools?


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:07 p.m.

I would be curious to know how much it costs per student to facilitate these transfers.


Fri, Feb 17, 2012 : 5:29 p.m.

I would think the same. Since it costs nearly $9500 to educate a child in Ann Arbor I really don't see how the cost can be any different.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

The cost is minor. You have someone process the application. Once the application is approved, the records are transferred from one school to another (only once). If you choose to do an in district transfer, you opt out of busing transportation all together. You become responsible for the transportation to and from school. The district benefits because it allows to have higher retention of students. If a parent is unhappy with the district school they are in, they have a choice to leave to another public school versus losing the student to a private school. Thanks to this option, we switched our kids from private schools to AAPS years ago.

Jim Mulchay

Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

I don't have clue to the real cost, but I have to think there will be someone (maybe more than one?) added (or re-assigned) to process / keep track of the transfers, along with additional time making sure the various diversity balances are maintained. There might well be some additional busing costs.


Thu, Feb 16, 2012 : 4:06 p.m.

The Thurston community was told via email that Thurston is open for in-district transfers for kindergarten, first, and second grades for 2012-13.