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The Des Moines School District’s enrollment process for its five schools of choice runs on a first come first serve basis, but that policy will soon change.

Close to 1,700 students attend the district’s five application only elementary schools.

These schools are so popular some students are put on a waiting list. But the Des Moines school district will now base its decision, in part, on the family’s income.

Officials say it’s hard to predict what kind of effect this policy will have on the schools especially because the district doesn’t provide transportation for students at the schools of choice. It could be a barrier for low-income families.

The policy will not affect current students.

Officials also say younger siblings of students already enrolled at a school will likely get the same opportunity.

Students eligible for free or reduced lunch at the schools ranges from 13 to 63-percent which is below the district average of 70-percent.

“We feel the diversity of our schools is very important,” explains Phil Roeder. “It`s a value added benefit here in Des Moines. That not everybody comes from the exact same background, the exact same experiences and situations as you may find in other communities.”

The policy will go into effect in two years.


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