With pupil counts dropping steadily – from 12,000 in 2008 to just over 11,200 in 2012 – Farmington Public Schools looks to open enrollment as a way to fill empty seats.
During a public hearing held at Tuesday's school board meeting, Dr. Michele Harmala, associate superintendent of student support services and organizational leadership, said the district's Schools of Choice committee recommends expansion of open enrollment for families within the district, as well as children of employees.
If seats remain, she said, the district would make seats available to students from other Oakland County schools participating in open enrollment.
"The committee is aware of and concerned about our declining enrollment," Harmala said. "Opening schools will help."
Administrators, teachers and parents on the Schools of Choice committee made the following specific recommendations for the 2013-2014 school year:
- Open kindergarten through 4th grade to intradistrict enrollment in all schools except Highmeadow (a separate lottery is held for Highmeadow enrollment)
- Open 9th grade spaces at Farmington and North Farmington High to intradistrict open enrollment. Harrison High School would not be open to any students other than those choosing to attend the International Baccalaureate program there.
- After intradistrict enrollment seats are filled, open K-12th grade to enrollment for district employees.
- After placement of employees' students, kindergarten and 1st grade spaces would be open to students outside the district. The number of spaces per school will be announced sometime in April.
All of the placements will be subject to availability based on 2013-2014 staffing levels, Harmala said.
With between 750 and 960 students in each upper elementary and middle school, Grades 5-8 are closed to intradistrict open enrollment, as those reconfigured schools deal with "right-sizing". "All of the schools except East (Middle School) are serving fewer students this year than previous years," Harmala said.
Board members will vote on the committee's recommendations March 19. More Schools of Choice information is available on the district's website.