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Rochester School Board To Consider Offering Limited Schools of Choice

Allowing some students from outside the district to enroll in Rochester Schools would help the district meet "Best Practices" incentives offered by the state.

Rochester Board of Education members will consider Monday night a resolution that would "dip the district's toes" into Schools of Choice. 

The resolution would allow six students from outside the Rochester Community Schools geographic boundaries to enroll in the district's Alternative Center for Education (ACE) program next semester.

That six-student limit would be for the second semester only; the board would need to review the Schools of Choice program at the beginning of next school year.

The resolution was spurred by a series of "Best Practices" incentives that the state of Michigan offered to Michigan school districts before the 2012-13 school year. If district's meet seven of eight prescribed best practices, they will receive an added per-pupil stipend; in Rochester, that amounts to $52 per student, or about $780,000. 

A Schools of Choice program, where nonresident students are allowed to attend school in a district, is one of those best practices. 

At a recent meeting where board members first learned about the proposed resolution, interim Superintendent Tresa Zumsteg said this limited Schools of Choice program would allow Rochester to be "dipping our toe" in welcoming nonresident students. 

The Board of Education meets at 7 p.m. in the Harrison Room of the School Administration Building.

Also on the agenda:

  • An Academic Spotlight on Hampton Elementary School's Common Core Pilot Program.
  • A Spotlight on Success with the district's art teachers.
  • The swearing-in of new board member Michael Zabat.
  • The purchase of five new school buses for not more than $469,105.
Coco Chanel December 10, 2012 at 07:12 PM
The whole Idea of this makes me nervous. I do not want the "problem" children from other districts coming into my child's school. Is there a screening process? Also, does this child from outside of the district, affect a child within the district's ability to attend certain schools? I may have to attend this meeting to get my questions answered.
Joshua Raymond December 10, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Coco, I encourage everyone to attend Board of Education meetings so that you can know what is occurring in your schools, meet the decision-makers, and add your voice. The policy this is under requires the Board of Education to vote yearly about which programs or schools will have spots available and the number available. The programs and availability can change from year to year. Under this policy, "nondiscrimination shall apply to all applicants under this program. In addition, the District will not refuse enrollment on the basis of an applicant's intellectual, academic, artistic, athletic, or other ability, talent, or accomplishment, or lack thereof, or based on a mental or physical disability." However, "The District may refuse to enroll a nonresident applicant if the applicant has been suspended from another school in the preceding two (2) years, has been expelled from another school, or has been convicted of a felony." The six spots submitted this year by the administration are in the ACE program, an alternative education environment for students in grades 10 through 12 who are at risk of not graduating. Three are for full time students physically present at ACE and three of the spots are online education at home administered through ACE. My understanding is that district students have first priority. Full schools of choice would also allow excellent students from other districts looking for better opportunities to come here.
Mike Reno December 10, 2012 at 09:29 PM
I didn't say it was a bad business decision... in fact I distinctly said it was clever. I'm just giggling at the hypocrisy.
Kristin Bull December 11, 2012 at 09:08 PM
The limited Schools of Choice resolution was approved by board members Monday night. The administration team will begin advertising the open spaces within the next week. The board will be required to review the Schools of Choice policy each year.
Will Hanson December 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Why is the school board purchasing the new buses? Shouldn't the contractor be responsible for providing the buses and completing the maintenance on these units? Seems like this was the point of reducing costs and overhead in the school transportation program.

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