The East Baltimore Community School, which opened in 2009 in a trailer while the Henderson-Hopkins school is being built, was intended to serve children in the neighborhood. However, it was under-enrolled and opened its doors to students from across Baltimore.

Hopkins believed that students who had attended East Baltimore Community should be given the opportunity to attend the new school.

According to enrollment data provided by Hopkins in April, 65 of the 69 applications that were submitted in the first priority level were accepted.

Siblings of students who attend the school have second priority, a benefit a handful of charter schools extend to students. Nineteen of the 27 applications received in that category were accepted.

Children of people who work within the catchment area, which includes Johns Hopkins hospital and university and EBDI, are in the next priority level; 29 of the 65 applicants were accepted.

According to a memo from the school's operators, children of those who work within the "EBDI footprint" will make up 20 percent of the school's population.

The next set of spots was set aside for families whose children attend five neighborhood schools, like Ruffner's and Williams' children. Five of the 51 applications from those families were accepted.

Any remaining seats were to be open to students from across the city. None of the 120 applicants in that category was accepted this year because the school was full.

'We'll learn from it'

In addition to drawing boundary lines, an ad-hoc committee of Hopkins and EBDI representatives set the priority levels, according to Andy Frank, special adviser on economic development to Hopkins President Ronald Daniels.

Frank, who was part of that committee, said the school expanded the priority levels, in large part, to include more students from neighborhood schools, though very few ended up getting in.

Frank also said that it's not unprecedented for a charter school to give some priority to employees who work in the area. He cited Midtown Academy, which has an enrollment preference for those working in the neighborhood, including universities.

"The fact of the matter is we're the only one who gives a preference to people who can see the school from their house," Frank said. "With that said, this was the first year, it was a complicated process, we'll learn from it, and next year we'll do better."

Andrews agreed with parents that the process was grueling. He recalled that after the lottery, a second-grader who didn't get chosen approached him and said, "I guess I have to go back to my bad school now."

"It's painful," he said. "But when you build a good school, you're going to have these problems."

Moreover, Andrews said Henderson-Hopkins is carrying out the mission to reflect a diverse, mixed-income neighborhood that the EBDI project was designed to create.

"We're unapologetically committing to that presence," he said. "So if we populate this school with all middle- and upper-class students who are children of employees from Hopkins, we will have completely failed."

Priority levels for new school

The following are the priority levels for the new Henderson-Hopkins School, scheduled to open in East Baltimore in January:

Priority 1: Students who currently attend the East Baltimore Community School (and are from all over the city), families who were displaced by EDBI and families from a group of blocks called the "catchment area" that includes the EBDI redevelopment area and blocks surrounding Hopkins' institutions. The catchment area was determined by an ad-hoc committee of Hopkins and EBDI representatives.

Priority 2: Siblings of students who attend the East Baltimore Community School.

Priority 3: Children of people who work within the catchment area, which includes Hopkins' hospital and university and EBDI.

Priority 4: Families whose children attend five neighborhood schools.

Priority 5: Students from across the city.