OLD TOWN — More than 500 students who received acceptance letters to LaSalle Language Academy are in for some bad news.
The school mistakenly sent out 512 acceptance letters to students in grades 1-8 who were supposed to be placed on the wait list instead, according to Michael Passman, a spokesman for Chicago Public Schools. Only 16 letters should have gone out, he said.
LaSalle Language Academy, 1734 N. Orleans St., is magnet school that specializes in foreign languages.
Parents were informed of the change in a letter from the Office of Access and Enrollment on Monday night.
Passman issued the following statement late Tuesday: "Due to an error in assigning transfer students to LaSalle Magnet School, CPS inadvertently offered more seats to students than LaSalle had available. When the error was discovered, CPS immediately called and emailed all families that received an incorrect notification, and District staff is working with families individually to help identify alternate options for their children."
Those who mistakenly got offers had them rescinded and were placed on the wait list.
"Families choose where they live based on schools," said parent Candice Warltier. "I'm very disappointed in this mistake."
Warltier's 6-year-old daughter currently attends Ogden International School, but the family applied to LaSalle for "another option," Warltier said. Her daughter received the acceptance letter Thursday in the mail and the follow-up email Monday, telling the family she was mistakenly admitted.
"For our family, this isn't a huge deal, but for other families, it's a major disappointment," Warltier said. "I hope CPS looks into fixing this."
LaSalle was the only school impacted by this error, Passman said.
Kathryn Ellis, the executive director of access and enrollment, said in the email that she was "deeply sorry to have to inform you of this change. While I understand that LaSalle might have been your family's preferred option, we are committed to working with you to find the best option that fits the needs of your child."
Ellis asked parents with questions to call 773-553-2060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After acceptance letters are sent out in late March, parents have about three weeks to accept spaces awarded through the district's computerized lottery for magnet schools at the end of February.
Siblings of current students and those who live within 1.5 miles of LaSalle get preference. Students can apply to up to 20 magnet schools.
Students at LaSalle study either Chinese, French, Italian or Spanish from kindergarten through eighth grade.
The 554-student body is one-third white, 30 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic and 8 percent Asian. About 30 percent are low-income.
The school became a magnet school in 1981 and received a 1+ rating, the district's highest, for the 2014-15 school year.
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