|
Dover Post
  • CR Superintendent recommends district’s be closed to choice next year

  • Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald recommended at the district's Nov. 18 Board of Education meeting that district schools be closed to choice for the 2014-2015 school year.
    • email print
  • Caesar Rodney School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald recommended at the district's Nov. 18 Board of Education meeting that district schools be closed to choice for the 2014-2015 school year.
    "The Caesar Rodney School District has to determine whether it will be open or closed to choice for the next school year," Fitzgerald said. "The recommendation is that the board closes all schools [to choice] that are at 85 percent capacity."
    By the last day of November, district superintendents are required to make recommendations to the Board of Education regarding possible school choice openings for the next school year. They are also required to notify the Delaware Department of Education of the capacity of schools in the district for the next year and projected enrollment to determine if district schools will be open for choice.
    All district schools, with the exception of the schools at Dover Air Force Base, are at or over the 85-percent capacity mark, which is the point at which schools are allowed to close choice according to Title 14, Chapter 4 of Delaware law.
    School capacity is determined by the Delaware Department of Education and is defined as the maximum number of students that a school can hold. Capacity is based on the physical space of the building, the building's physical resources and the class size of each grade level, as outlined in the law.
    The state education department has determined that Caesar Rodney High School has a capacity of 1,580 students, with 1,343 accounting for 85 percent. This year, the high school has 2,040 students, meaning that they are 460 students over the 85-percent capacity mark.
    Fitzgerald's recommendation to close schools to choice is not set in stone, though. If for some reason schools in the district have lower enrollment and fall below 85-percent capacity then schools will be open to choice. If that is the case, choice students would be admitted based on a waiting list created by a random lottery.
    But, closing schools to choice would present a problem for the district, Fitzgerald said. If students from outside districts are barred from entering into district schools, that also means students who are currently enrolled in the district (even those children who reside in the school district) cannot chose to move from one district school to another, Fitzgerald said.
    "By closing schools to choice we are also closing intra-district choice," he said. "If someone comes to us and says 'I want to choice my kid from Stokes to Simpson, we can't do that. If we start allowing that then people would say, 'If you're allowing people to choice, you have to open it up to everyone.'"
    Last year, 491 students used the choice system to attend Caesar Rodney schools; 317 of those students were local children who were moving from one district school to another, according to Caesar Rodney School District's profile on the Delaware Department of Education website.
    Page 2 of 2 - Just as with all choice students, locals who have already used choice to switch schools can remain but no local students would be allowed to choice into a school next year. An exception would be given to the children of staff members and the siblings of children currently attending a school based on choice.
    Board member P. Scott Wilson offered his own solution to the ban on intra-district choice.
    "Can't we just say our kid got on the wrong bus every day?" he joked.
      • calendar