By David Fleet
Goodrich-On Monday night the school board of trustees voted 7-0 to adopt a resolution exercising the option permitted by Section 105 of the State School Aid Act, to operate a Schools of Choice program for the 2018-19 school year. The district will continue to accept applications for enrollment of non-resident students from outside of the district who reside within a constituent district with the Genesee Intermediate School District.
The board also voted 7-0 to accept non-resident students from outside of the district who are residents of intermediate school districts contiguous to the Genesee Intermediate School District. The district continues to allow unlimited enrollment in grades K-12.
Currently about two of every 10 students in the district are Schools of Choice.
According to the October 2017 student count of the 2,060 students enrolled in the district 453 were Schools of Choice/non-resident students. In comparison during the 2016 school year, a total of 429 were enrolled in the district as Schools of Choice/non-resident students.
“This is a less of a hot topic then it used to be,” said David Cramer, school board trustee. “In a perfect world we would not need Schools of Choice. However, based on a forecasted enrollment of 2,144 with roughly 20 percent Schools of Choice at $7,631 per student that’s $3.2 million in our budget. So, for those that might be anti-Schools of Choice I understand—but I would challenge you to find me $3.2 million and I’ll vote (Schools of Choice) it down. This is how we keep our budget up. This is how we keep our savings account up when times are bad. It’s necessary in today’s world.”
Trustee Linda Jackson asked the board if there should be a discussion regarding the open enrollment for Schools of Choice.
Cramer made reference to the large class sizes in 2012 when the board of trustees voted to close the Schools of Choice students for grades seventh-12 and accept Schools of Choice students for only grades kindergarten-sixth.
“If we are that packed (with students) it may be a decision we should make,” said Cramer. “Until (high school principal) Mr. Baszler tells us we are over-booked in the high school we’ll keep it open,” he said.
Chip Schultz expressed his support for Schools of Choice.
“The problem I have regarding the complaints about Schools of Choice is that we are getting bad kids,” he said. “We are not getting bad kids. We have a study that shows our Schools of Choice kids test scores are just as good if not better then the kids in the district. So we are not getting bad kids or kids that just want to come here and play sports.”
In April 2010 the school board voted 4-3 to join the state’s Schools of Choice program for the 2010-2011 school year. That year the board voted out of the Genesee County program opting into the state’s school of choice program. The decision opened up enrollment to students from other districts, which allows an unlimited influx of students from outside the district.
By David Fleet