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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.

Tanya April 12, 2012 at 01:23 PM
I was in High School when this "every child deserves an education" program began in the 90's- all of a sudden students were being bussed in from Detroit, our lockers were inspected and much bigger problems began. Now, look at these schools! What was a great school district is in ruins. The bs my children face every day is horrible and lets just keep bringing in more troubled children! But, the district is only considering the $$$ not our children's future.
Jim Fields April 12, 2012 at 06:31 PM
I agree Tanya...it seems to be all about that count day money and not the kids. FPS is definitely not what it used to be. The schools do not reflect the demographics of this city either. Harrison is a straight up ghetto now... I was at the building last week. There's graffiti on the outside walls, and probably 50% of the student body aren't even Farmington/Hills residents. When new families consider choosing this area for buying a house and raising a family, schools are the first thing they look at. And today, its all about Novi and Walled Lake schools. Ive read several forums online with future home buyers asking about how FH is. The responses I see are like "If you choose FH, definitely live in the northwest portion, they go to Walled Lake Schools..." Something needs to be done about this, Farmington is becoming less appealing for new families because the schools are going downhill. In my opinion, it should be residents of the district only. Not accepting problematic kids who've been kicked out of other districts because of crime/behavior problems.
Rev.Staceyann April 12, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Jimmy, how I agree with everything you said. We just move back to the state, this year, and thought Farmington Hills would be great for our children. Oh how wrong I was! 20 years ago, when I was in school, Farmington Schools were VERY good (I did not attend Farmington schools). I have 3 children in the Farmington schools right now. One is at Harrison and will be graduating this June. I can not say just how dissatisfied I am with Harrison. Yes, it is a very Getto school. The school district needs to reinstate the job of an Address Verifier. Just drive by Strawberry Hill Apartments at school release times to see all of the kids get in cars to drive to their real homes. They do not live in the Farmington District. I am pulling my other 2 children (in elemantary) out of school here and sending then to a better district. It is a sad shame how "down hill" Farmington Schools have gone. We are very unhappy with the schools & wish we never would have bought in this area. We are glad that we found a way to move our children to another district for a much better education. Now if only the housing market improves so we can sell.
Kevin Miesner April 12, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Both of you leave bigoted and false comments. As an employee at Harrison I find your remarks uninformed and offensive. I have worked there since the 90's and have found the changes that have occurred to be improvements. Why don't both of you get some real information and facts before you comment.
Rev.Staceyann April 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
I do have my facts, Kevin. My child goes to Harrison. I'm am there quite often. I have had more than the acceptable run ins with one teacher. I will let everyone I know, know just how unhappy I am with the district. Harrison is GHETTO! If you can't see it, it is because you are blind. Teachers know there are students in there class that DO NOT BELONG THERE, yet do nothing. That is unacceptable. Soon FSD will be on the same level as Oak Park Schools. That is just sad.
Tina April 13, 2012 at 01:06 PM
For anyone who is calling Harrison ghetto,when was the last time you were in the ghetto? Every school has their problems but that is an inaccurate way to describe Harrison. Perhaps people calling Harrison ghetto should look in the mirror and see if they are racist? I have volunteered with Harrison students for nearly 12 years. There are amazing students there, high quality staff and many awards. Does our district need to beware? Absolutely. It is a truth that you see what you look for. I hope FPS continues to strive to be the best and listen to community and our teachers but to any person who sees diversity and thinks ghetto, get in 2012, now.
Tanya April 13, 2012 at 02:12 PM
LOL! I worked for FPS and the subs that come in to our building after working at HHS are always amazed with the allowings of the children. The students are basically without pants off, having sex on the lab tables. There are halls the staff do not go down! Why? I live next FCS and I see the adult education, what goes on at that school & my children have also had to witness the drug exchanges, condoms in the parking lot, we even had a few students peeing in our driveway. Sorry- its a joke! FPS is unfit! Power just gets as bad, Gill Elem is horrible, Lanigan is afraid, when William Grace was open- comments were- they are just the poor side of Farmington so its acceptable. What! I wish I never bought my house here and I was looking outwards but since this is home, I wanted to stay here. My huge mistake!! I can not wait to sell this house!
Tanya April 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Hey Tina, No one mentioned anything about color! Maybe you need to look at that mirror and think who's the racist!
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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