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Farmington School Officials Open New School of Choice Slots

Board members ask for more information about allowing 9th and 10th graders to participate next year.

members on Tuesday expanded the district's schools of choice program, and one parent's concerns may lead to additional changes. 

Dr. Michele Harmala said after reviewing enrollment projections, the district's Schools of Choice committee recommended the following changes: 

  • Opening kindergarten for intra-district schools of choice in all buildings except , which is currently the district's only schools of choice option
  • Opening additional kindergarten seats to open enrollment of staff members' children, and then to families in any district that participates in the Section 105 open enrollment option, with the number of Section 105 spaces announced in mid-June
  • Opening a number of grade 9 seats at and High Schools equal to the number of 9th graders from those schools enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at as of April 30, first to intra-district students, then employees' children and Section 105 students if spaces are available
  • Closing open enrollment at Harrison High

Parent Debbie Chasnick asked officials to consider also opening up spaces for this year's 9th graders, who would be 10th graders next year, based on the number of 9th grade seats that were open at North and Farmington this year. 

Board member Howard Wallach agreed with Chasnick and asked Supt. Sue Zurvalec to look at the district's enrollment data and "bring back some solid information, so we can be clear with our families."

"I do think we should be clear with the public that there won't necessarily be room for everybody who wants to change," said board member Priscilla Brouillette, who also favored the idea.

Parent Sharon Bussell wanted to see data collected since she first brought concerns about Section 105 open enrollment to the board in 2003. She said the district could incur additional costs if children with special needs come in from outside the district, and the district would be likely to draw children from other districts who need help, which could affect adequate yearly progress, a measurement of standardized testing required by the federal government. 

"If you're going to do this, you'd better get community input," she said. 

Harmala said the district's policy is to open seats first to students within the district and then to employees' students. Section 105 students would only be allowed if any seats remain. 

Recommendations include holding a community meeting to gather input about declining enrollment and Schools of Choice, sometime at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, then recommending policy changes, she said. 

The Schools of Choice recommendations were approved on a 5-1 vote; board member Murray Kahn, who opposed the motion, said he shared Bussell's concerns.

John St Croix April 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
IB is no good for any kid, least of all the less advantaged. All it does is color the whole curriculum with the UN's agenda of redistribution of the wealth. FIGHT IB with all your might, there is no excuse to send money to the UN so they can brainwash your kids into thinking there is a higher power than the US Constitution!
Jim Fields April 13, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Tina, I value diversity...calling me a racist is offensive to me because I'm not. But, there is a huge difference between diversity and ghetto. Ghetto refers to crime, blight, gangs, drugs, guns, etc. No one mentioned color. Ghetto seems to be a lifestyle, which has been becoming more and more apparent in Farmington's high schools. In my opinion it's affecting the good kids who stay away from that stuff. Let me tell you, the kids raised in good homes attending the schools in their community aren't the ones bringing the problems....It's the students who've been kicked out of Detroit Public Schools because of behavior who have no where else to go but Farmington Schools who are bringing problems. They don't verify addresses, which is the problem. Anyone can say that they live at Madison Apts or Strawberry Lane...after school they go there and get picked up and driven to their real homes. Staceyann isn't kidding...thats what happens.
Kevin Miesner April 13, 2012 at 11:27 PM
As I read the comments of most of the posters I have really seen the light. Things at Harrison ARE different than when Terry's kids were there. We are more diverse. We do have less funding per pupil. We do have more AP classes offered. We do have more robotics championships. We do have more state football championships. We do still have AP scholars, National Merit Finalists, and other academic award winners. We do still have music, dance, science and art award winners at all levels. We do still have business, CAD, and automotive technology award winners. We do still have all-state athletes in multiple sports. We do have teachers that have won recognition for their teaching. We have contributed to the development of doctors, lawyers, engineers, business owners, nurses, math and physics professors, and even the lowest of all professions...public school teachers. As I look back at the way Harrison has become a cesspool of education I really see the points each of you are making. (in case Terry, John, Tanya, and others couldn't tell that was sarcasm...) Rather than spew negativity why don't each of you volunteer to tutor in our after school tutoring program. Help us to create the strong academic environment that each of these CHILDREN deserve. I promise you that you will find that you enjoy each of these kids that you claim come from the Ghetto. It might even make you change your point of view...that is if you are truly open to learning the truth about others.
Bob April 15, 2012 at 07:12 PM
What a conversation..... the bottom line is that FPS has gone way down hill... we have been here 20 years it's not near the same. The administration turns the head, I know for a fact as I tried to file a complain and Ruhland just blew us off as the ins carrier, trying to get out of paying for property damage. There (Admin) is a joke) BTW I do travel thru and in the worst places in Detroit daily BT
Jane May 08, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Shut up bob.

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