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Doors open in fourth school program

May 30, 2012 - Project Lead the Way joins three other unlimited enrollment School of Choice programs in Clarkston.

Open enrollment programs also include CSMTech, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, and Advanced Studies Program.

The Clarkston Board of Education approved open enrollment for the programs, May 21.

Project Lead the Way is a Career Pathway Program for pre-engineering students.

Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said the program hasn't changed since it was approved last year, except now enrollment is open to non-Clarkston residents.

"Project Lead the Way is a national engineering program," Rock explained. "It allows students to explore a variety of engineering careers. Teachers must go through specific training in order to qualify to teach within the Project Lead the Way curricula."

Spaces in the program are open to Clarkston students first. For the rest, students from other districts go through the application process and committee review, and must maintain a 3.0 GPA once in the program. When approved last year, up to 10 out-of-district students could be accepted. Now it is unlimited.

Rock noted Project Lead the Way has no School of Choice students currently enrolled, while the other programs include a total of 31 students from other districts.

He added there are additionally 63 students in the program not included in the School of Choice numbers. They are children of employees working for Clarkston Community Schools who do not live in the district and are designated differently by Michigan.

"These 94 students bring into the district at least $658,000," Rock said. "As the district receives less revenue from the state, these extra dollars benefit all of our students as they allow us to maintain programs and class sizes for kids."

Trustees Rosalie Lieblang and Joan Patterson asked to move the action to a discussion item.

When the motion failed, they asked to table the motion with questions they wanted answered before they voted on it.

Lieblang wanted to know limitations in the labs if it is made unlimited and if there are additional costs.

Rock answered the cost would be nothing for the district.

"When the board of education decided a few years ago to bring Project Lead the Way into Clarkston, it did so with the stipulation that the program would be at zero cost to the district," Rock told The Clarkston News after the meeting. "This is still the case. The program is completely grant funded. Generous community donors allow this program to exist in Clarkston."

Patterson wanted to know the process if the district receives too many students as well as updates on the programs.

"Every year the programs change and the funding changes," she added. "I am concerned about increasing the numbers and making sure it is available."

The motion to table the action failed, 5-2.

"Without Schools of Choice students, it would be much more difficult for the district to sustain these programs," Rock added.

Patterson and Lieblang voted against making the programs unlimited.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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