Saturday, January 13, 2007

Schools of Choice

The Petoskey News-Review ran a story this week on how "Schools of Choice', a policy now 10 years old has played out in the Charlevoix-Petoskey area.

At work this week I talked to two different coworkers about school choice. Both were furious with their current schools. One was trying to move their kids from Northport to Suttons Bay, the other was trying to move their kids from Suttons Bay to Northport. In both cases there were communication issues between the school and the parents, but I wondered if the fact that they could vote with their feet gave these families an alternative to demanding that their current school improve. Both families felt that their concerns were ignored until they threatened to switch schools.

The other big school funding news in Leelanau is the headline in the Enterprise that Glen Lake may become, like Northport, an out-of-formula school.
Since adoption of Proposal A, most school districts have relied on a state per-pupil foundation allowance, generated from a statewide 6-mill property tax levy for education. The foundation allowance, multiplied by the number of students, represents the lion’s share of revenue to most school districts. These schools are referred to as “in formula."

However, when the district’s non-homestead tax revenue is greater than what the district would receive “in formula,” it is designated as “out of formula."
If the district can convince the state Department of Education that they are out-of-formula, then Glen Lake would rely on property taxes instead of per-pupil grants for their funding. They could even change designations on a yearly basis, depending on the interplay of student counts and property values.

No comments: