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Arlington Parents Call Out School District Over Immersion School Admission Process

Some Arlington parents are angry, demanding answers and transparency from the Arlington Independent School District after their kindergartners were rejected by two highly sought-after public schools: Jones Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language & Corey Academy of Fine Arts and Dual Language.

Anger set in for many after finding out through other parents that while their children were not accepted, an unknown number of students living outside the district were granted admission.

The language immersion schools were created with Arlington taxpayer money.

Kindergartners at Jones Academy are taught Spanish, music and art and in a few years they will transition to Mandarin.

"Do you want to go to Jones," mother Taylor Taylor asked her 4-year-old in the family's Arlington home.

"Yeah," she quickly responded.

"Why," asked mom.

"Because I want to learn Spanish and do art," she responded.

However, Taylor's little girl won't be attending Jones Academy in the fall as she'd hoped.

The family just received the news this week.

"She cried," said Taylor.

Rejected in a competitive admissions process.

Arlington ISD said that during January's admissions process it received 520 applications for the 110 seats available between Jones in north Arlington and Corey in the south.

"This is a limited resource for our community," said Taylor.

Taylor and many other parents are fuming after finding out an unknown number of students living outside the district were accepted.

"This is really our one chance to get in, so when we have out-of-district students coming in [taking] those spots of in-district-students, it's a disadvantage," she said.

A disadvantage, she said, because Arlington tax payers approved a bond years ago to convert the public schools into what they are today.

"It negatively affects our AISD students when their parents passed the bond package," said Taylor. "Tax payers passed the bond package to help give Arlington students a world-class education."

Kyle Coonrod's daughter didn't get into Jones either.

"She'll be 5. She's amazing. She's smart. She's artistic," he said. "And I thought this program would be a really good fit for her just to challenge her."

Coonrod plans on attending a school board meeting to demand a more transparent process that favors in-district students.

"Why does it seem like there's preferential treatment to certain parents and not others? What's the process for admissions? How is this being graded," he asked. "I'm not mad at those kids. They're not the ones that did this. It's poor policies inside AISD that's causing this and I want to know what's the motivation behind this."

Taylor said some parents online have stated that one child already attends the school but their other child was rejected, forcing families to juggle drop-off and pick up times at different campuses.

"As long as there are AISD students that want to go to this program, there should be no out-of-district families," said Taylor.

After refusing an on-camera interview with NBC 5, Arlington ISD released a statement saying, in part, that out of 190 kindergartners accepted into Jones and Corey Academies, 29 students live outside Arlington.

The district stated that it gives weight in the admissions process to students who live in Arlington, have a sibling who attends either schools and/or are proficient in more than one language.

The district went on to say that parents of children not admitted into the academies are being offered enrollment into Wimbish World Language Academy which is opening in the fall.

However, Coonrod told NBC 5, while that is true, he was already informed that his daughter will have to take French immersion at the language academy instead of the language he wanted: Spanish.

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