C-A sticks with limited Schools of Choice plan

FLINT TWP. — Carman- Ainsworth, like many school districts, has had a steady decline in enrollment and state-aid dollars in recent years, so it might seem surprising that school officials are more interested in maintaining current program levels than in bringing in large numbers of students.

Last week, the C-A school board approved a resolution to continue its Limited Schools of Choice Plan, as recommended by Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff.

“I am not recommending unlimited choice,’’ Tunnicliff said. He mentioned recent speculative media reports about school closings that could bring an influx of students to CA and other districts.

“I think it is important to note that we do not have an interest in growing exponentially,’’ Tunnicliff said. “We would like to stay the size we are.”

Current staffing levels are sufficient to provide the optimum number of programs in the district, he said.

“The reason I am not offering unlimited choice, though that could potentially bring in hundreds and hundreds of students, (is) we want to maintain programs as we currently have them,” he said. “ We just want to simply make sure that we can bring in the number of students we need to maintain our existing programs.”

Provisions of the State School Aid Act – Sections 105 and 105c – allow school districts to enroll students who reside in neighboring districts within the same intermediate school district.

Each school district chooses whether to participate in school of choice Section 105, 105c, or both, and also decides if students will be accepted under limited or unlimited plans.

The district also is required to issue a public notice of the application period and the procedure for submitting applications.

Under the limited plan, C-A has announced that it will be accepting applications from May 13-June 11 under the Limited State Schools of Choice program for the 2013-2014 school year. Parents interested in having their child attend C-A schools must apply during that time frame.

Tunnicliff explained the selection process which begins with looking at behavioral records for applicants. Those with serious disciplinary problems in the past two years will be eliminated from the pool of applicants.

Remaining names will be placed in a lottery if the number of applicants exceeds the number of open slots, which is based on staffing levels.

For example, if C-A has 20 thirdgrade slots open and 40 people apply, the students will be selected in a lottery.

Parents will be notified by letter two weeks after the lottery if their child is selected, according to the published notice.

Applications must be picked up and returned to the C-A administration building on West Court Street within the specified 30-day application period,

The application form and instructions also will be posted on C-A’s website at www.carman.k12.mi.us during the application period.

If during the process, more C-A students leave the district than anticipated, that would in turn create more open slots, Tunnicliff said.

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