School board approves some, not all, open enrollment requestsThe Hudson Board of Education voted to allow 22 non-resident students to attend Hudson schools in 2010-11 including five to the Hudson Middle School at last week’s school board meeting.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
The Hudson Board of Education voted to allow 22 non-resident students to attend Hudson schools in 2010-11 including five to the Hudson Middle School at last week’s school board meeting.
The requests came as a result of the state’s open enrollment statute that allows for students to request attendance in a school district other than the one where they live.
A space issue
District administrators recommended that the board approve only 17 applications into the district and deny the other 29 including all applications for the Hudson Middle School.
Deputy Superintendent Nancy Sweet told the board that because the school is over capacity this year and is expected to have an even bigger enrollment next year, that any applications to the school should be denied for the 2010-2011 school year. That included non-resident students who had already been attending elementary school in Hudson or who have siblings attending school here.
But several board members took issue with the recommendation when it came to the five middle school students with siblings in the district who were asking for admittance to Hudson Middle School.
In a separate statement board member Lynn Robson pointed out that historically, the Hudson School District has admitted all “sibling preference applicants,” a policy the state statute encourages but does not mandate, to every Hudson School. It was only last year that the board rejected sibling preference for the first time and only those into the middle school.
Said Robson of her vote to let the five middle level students into the district, “At the meeting, the board continued its restrictive open enrollment policy into the middle school. They rejected every applicant except the sibling preference candidates. In doing so, the board’s decision was consistent with the Hudson School Board’s policy on admission of sibling preference candidates for every year, other than 2009.”
According to Sweet, the latest estimate of state aid for the current year for open enrollment students is around $6,400. Using the most recent figures available from the DPI (2007-08) the total education cost per student in the district is around $10,600. Using that information, the net cost to the district to accept all five middle school students with siblings is around $21,000.
Robson added that the board’s decision to accept the five middle school students was in the “context of an anticipated plan to alleviate some of the spacing problems at the middle school for the coming school year. Those plans will be proposed by the district administration and considered by the board at upcoming school board meetings.”
In the end the board approved by a vote of 4-2 to accept 22 students for open enrollment and reject 24 requests where grade level or the school requested were over capacity and there were no siblings involved.
There were 44 Hudson students who have applied to attend schools outside of their home district. Many of those students do not currently attend Hudson schools but are home-schooled or attend private schools or participate in online programs. Sweet said students have until June to finalize their applications.