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District halts Schools of Choice

December 22, 2010 - Goodrich- Doors closed.

That's the word from district superintendent John Fazer who announced that Schools of Choice enrollment in the district will be halted for the second semester due to raising class size.

"We closed the window to Schools of Choice," said Fazer. "We don't want too big class sizes. We have reduced our staff to fight the lack of funding from the state. The program will be reevaluated in the spring. At that time we'll take a look at hiring more staff if necessary."

Fazer made the announcement at the Monday school board meeting and reported that currently 2,138 students are enrolled in the district with 220, or about 10 percent, Schools of Choice students. District employees with students the district account for an additional 36 enrolled accounting for 1.7 percent.

"Schools of Choice has opened that opportunity to students who want to experience the Goodrich School District and provided some assistance to us in operational costs," he said. "Schools of Choice has also offered some diversity for our students." Earlier this year the school board voted 4-3 to join the state's Schools of Choice program for the 2010-2011 school year. The board voted out of the Genesee County program. By opting into the state's Schools of Choice program, the district joins the Fenton School District to open up enrollment to students from other districts, which allows an unlimited influx of students from outside the district.

Since the enrollment was opened up last summer, 80 new Schools of Choice students have come to the district.

While the Schools of Choice is a financial boom to the district, trustee Linda Jackson suggested some caution.

"Some of our classes are now too large,"she said. "Schools of Choice has been a benefit, but we have to know what our limit is."

The decision kept the window for enrollment open until the end of the first week in September, and will also allow enrollment during the second semester of the school year. The state Schools of Choice program will not require a release from school administration if the student opts to come to Goodrich.

District trustee Douglas Tetmeyer said the Schools of Choice program added about $2 million to the district coffers.

"We would be $2 million in the hole without Schools of Choice," he said. "It's just a fact of life that we have Schools of Choice."

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