Friday, March 12, 1999
School Choice is an unlikely option in Carlisle School
Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson said that the Carlisle School, as part of a state educational district, is required to hold a public hearing to discuss whether the school wishes to participate in School Choice; that is, allow non-residential students to attend school in town. If a school committee allows its school to receive students from other towns, funds allotted for that student must be applied to the system in which the student is enrolled. That town is then committed to educating the student until graduation.
School Choice has done a great deal for some school districts by forcing them to reevaluate their educational system when students choose to leave. However, school committee chair David Dockterman said it was questionable whether the ability for students to change schools has really improved standards. Fox-Melanson said problems also occur when a community becomes dependent on the extra money. Other consequences follow, such as school class sizes become larger to accommodate the added numbers.
Carlisle has yet to participate in the School Choice program. A Carlisle resident attending the meeting asked for a sense of the meeting from school committee members. Member Paul Morrison explained," We have an expanding population and good schools." He said he feels the town should not open the school to other towns. Member Suzanne Whitney-Smith added, "The school is essentially full at the present time. How can we entertain the thought of taking in more?"
The general sense from the comments of the school committee members on February 1 was that the school would not participate in the School Choice program.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito