Hey parents, it’s time to play the DPS lottery!

That’s right, the DPS Magnet lottery is back! Registration runs through January 30th, and you can do it all on that there web site.

This is my first time actually playing the lottery, although I did write a bit about it last year. The long and short of it is that Durham has a number of pretty well regarded magnet schools with limited space, and for most people the only way to get in is via a lottery process (the most notable exception to this is for students who live in a “walk zone” near certain schools, who get either priority or automatic enrollment depending on the school).

The most coveted prize of all is free preschool, which is available at Watts and Morehead. If you happen to get into one of these schools, your preschooler wins taxpayer subsidized child care for 9 months (a prize which, I can tell you from personal experience, is valued at upwards of $10k).

Some people are interested in changing this, and personally I’d like to see some kind of needs based test to determine how much (if any) subsidy kids should be getting. The current system effectively creates incentives for parents to move into the “walk zones” near these magnet schools, and I’d argue that many e.g. Trinity Park residents aren’t so hard up for cash that they need taxpayers to foot their day care bills.

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