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Merit-based admissions return to San Francisco's Lowell High after school board vote

SAN FRANCISCO – Lowell High School will return to academic-based admissions, the San Francisco Board of Education decided Wednesday evening in a 4-3 vote.

The board's decision restores merit-based admissions for the 2023-24 school year at Lowell, which had been suspended during the pandemic in favor of lottery-based admissions.

The board had decided in early 2021 to make the lottery-based admissions permanent, but a Superior Court judge ruled late last year that the board had violated California's open meeting law. The judge's ruling came too late for the 2022 academic year.

The board's vote on Wednesday turned down a recommendation from Superintendent Vince Matthews to keep the lottery system in place for another year.

Under the merit-based admissions policy, students applying to Lowell must meet designated grade point average and standardized test score criteria to qualify for any of the three "bands" for admission.

The application window for Lowell will open in early October and close in mid-December.

The board also approved creation of a task force to examine admissions policies, and to gather input and provide recommendations to improve the district's high schools. 

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