SCS Parents Given Place Holders Rather Than Camping For Optional Schools

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(Memphis) The Shelby County School district is distributing place holders for parent’s camping out for Optional school so they can get out of the dangerously low temperatures.

It's basically back to normal on the Shelby County School district lot, but earlier Thursday, dozens of tents lined the sidewalk as parents braved the bone chilling temperatures and camped out for a golden ticket to get their child into an elite optional school.

Campers did have fires to stay warm, but this morning the fire marshal made them put the fires out because they weren't safe.

With the weather expected to become dangerously cold, the district decided to make some changes.

Each parent, like Kiran Kodali who already spent more than a day camping out for his child, will get a numbered ticket and the district will store the information in a spreadsheet.

“They will still hold on to their place and whoever comes will register to the next place and leave so we don`t have to stay in the cold outside,” said Kodali.

Monday the parents must be back at 5:30am.

They will be taken into the auditorium and will get their application based on the list of people who were in line.

In a tweet Thursday, the district said it doesn't recommend camping out and says there's no advantage to doing it.

“It shows a system that is broken and some that deeply, deeply needs to be fixed,” said parent Martheus Wade.

Wade says the whole process must be changed, but the school district claims it decides how the process will work after parent feedback from the previous year.

“I don't see how you can look at all this and say this is a fixed system or something parents want to do,” said Wade.

SCS claims most students who qualify for optional schools will make the cut without camping out, but these parents don't want to risk it.

Applications will be given out on a first come first serve basis until next Wednesday.

Groups of parents are volunteering in shifts and to help pass out the place holders during the daytime, until Monday.

Place-Holder Ticketing Process from SCS:

Parents may come to the Board of Education during the times listed below to pick up a place-holder ticket. The numbered ticket will reserve the parent's place in line and correspond with a specific bar-coded application. Parents with a numbered ticket must arrive at the SCS Board Auditorium by 5:30 a.m. on Monday, January 27, in order for their ticket to be honored and to receive their assigned bar-coded application. When parents arrive Monday, January 27, they will receive the bar-coded application that corresponds with the number on their ticket.

Pick-Up Times for Place-Holder Tickets:

  • Thursday, January 23, until 6 p.m. 
  • Friday, January 24, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 25, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 26, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. 

*Place-holder tickets can be picked up at the main entrance of the Board of Education, 160 S. Hollywood St.

For complete details about the Optional Schools application process, go to:


  • MissTee

    Its absurd that they still use this system rather than the easier, more fair lottery system like every other city.

  • Claire H

    I wish they would quit calling the system “Shelby County Schools” because they city just took over the management. This “school lottery” system needs to stop. It is so antiquated.

  • Jets

    I’ll tell you what’s sad: that we’re paying millions for athletic programs/coaches when it’s obvious that parents want an EDUCATION — a *good* one — for their children. The system is broken when only by lottery can kids get a shot at going to the best taxpayer-funded schools. We shouldn’t have separate ghetto and rich kid public schools. What school they go to shouldn’t be limited to a zip code. My grandkids go to schools in Jonesboro, AR, and J’boro has an excellent system of satellite schools that are open to all; just pick what your area of interest is. (My daughter was able to take both kids to various schools to let them choose. And yes, they have taxpayer-paid buses!) A decent education shouldn’t have to be decided by what your parents are able to afford.

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