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Parents camp out at Franklin Elementary to transfer kids
Number 7 warmed his feet in a sleeping bag near a cold concrete wall.
Number 18 slept on the floor with only a blanket for comfort.
Number 14 sat alone in a chair all night, surrounded by strangers.
Parents took on numbered identities Sunday evening as they waited overnight in the Franklin Elementary School gym to apply for an inter-district transfer.
The process that transfers students between districts is priority-based, leaving some parents to resort to unconventional means. For parents wanting to send their kids to Franklin, this meant waiting several hours in the school's gym.
Processing was scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday, but parents began lining up at Franklin Elementary about 1:30 p.m. Sunday. About 25 parents and students came to the gym to wait through the night.
Yuba City resident Cecilia Basrai, Number 14, was one of the parents who spent the night in the school gym. Before settling on Franklin, Basrai spent the past six months looking at potential schools to send her twin daughters.
The decision to apply for Franklin was not made lightly.
"As a parent, you want to make the best choices for your kids," she said. "And it's all about choices."
Basrai arrived at the school at 9 p.m. Sunday. She was armed with a lawn chair and an iPad, ready to wait all night to increase her daughters' chances of being accepted into the school next year.
Franklin Elementary received 53 applications in the first day alone. Of those, however, only about 30 would get accepted into the school if the application process ended that day, said Franklin Elementary Principal Douglas Reeder. Limited classroom sizes are the reason for the small number of accepted applications.
Each year, kids transfer to Franklin from several schools and districts, Reeder said. Students don't come from any particular school — they come from all over — but a large percent do come from the Yuba City Unified School District.
Bruce Morton, director of student welfare and attendance at YCUSD, said the amount of transfers in the school year have been normal. In other words, the district sends about the same number of transfers to Franklin Elementary as they have before.
As far as Franklin Elementary's appeal, Reeder said he doesn't have a straight answer. Many parents like the idea of a small K-8 school. Positive test scores, like that of Franklin's, can also be attractive.
For Sutter resident Joe Danna, Franklin's appeal is its community.
One of the reasons Danna is trying to get his 4-year-old daughter, Shaley, into Franklin Elementary is because the school has a good parent support group.
Danna drove to the school to wait in line at 5:30 p.m. Sunday when he saw six people already in front of him.
"I was, like, 'you've got to be kidding me,'" he said after seeing the line. "I couldn't believe it. So I drove home and grabbed my cot."
Sutter resident Amy Wilder, Number 18, also has a 4-year-old daughter who will be in kindergarten next year.
Wilder arrived at Franklin about 11 p.m. Sunday. She brought a book and a laptop while she waited in the cold gym, but only had a blanket to protect her from the hard floor.
Franklin parents brought coffee and doughnuts to the people waiting in line, but Wilder said the experience as a whole could have gone better.
"It was pretty miserable," she said.