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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 01/28/2011

D.C. school lottery opens today

By Bill Turque

District families seeking preschool or pre-kindergarten spots, or schools beyond their neighborhood boundaries, can enter a lottery beginning today. To apply, families can log on to the DCPS Web site. Paper applications will not be accepted.

Each applicant can list up to six schools. Preschool or pre-K slots must be secured through the online application, even if they are for in-boundary schools. Families can sort through their options by visiting the school profiles tool that lists all DC Public Schools, and describes program offerings.

The application period ends on Feb. 28. The lottery will be run on March 2, with results posted on-line March 3 and mailed home March 8. Applicants who receive a seat in the lottery must accept the offer by April 1 by returning the "Intent to Enroll" form and must submit a complete enrollment packet by May 2 (including DC residency verification) in order to secure the seat.

For more information or help, call 202-478-5738, or visit the DCPS Out-of-Boundary Lottery webpage here.

By Bill Turque  | January 28, 2011; 10:10 AM ET
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I tried to register and got a "runtime error" message. I later received an email thanking me for registering and listing my user id and password, but they don't work.

As an IT professional it is deeply concerning to me that the error message is being shown to end users. It makes me suspicous that the site might be succeptible to SQL injection. (See for a description of the technique.) SQL injection happens in the real world all the time, and the stakes are high enough in the OOB lottery that someone could be tempted to try it.

Posted by: washpost4 | January 28, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I had the same problem this morning but when it asks do you want to view it on a secure page or not, you have to hit no (EACH TIME) so the pages can pop up clearly and properly formatted. Not a great way to start the process though!!!

Posted by: dcdivacb | January 28, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I just talked to someone at the service center who told me they're having technical issues.

Posted by: washpost4 | January 28, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

IT folks in DC government have been at this all day (since it went live). Currently holding hourly conference calls.

Posted by: cbr1 | January 28, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

washpost4, I've gotten the error myself and it's nothing that's susceptible for attack. All the error message says is "There was an error and since you aren't on the server I won't tell you what it is". Then it gives instructions on how to turn that error message off so users can see the information that the developer wouldn't want them to see.

So, is what I saw bad? Yes and no. Yes because it was unprofessional and no being it was a meaningless error message.

dcdivacb, I had a similar problem and switched to google chrome as the browser and the popups stopped happening.

Posted by: slungsolow | January 28, 2011 7:55 PM | Report abuse

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