Eaton Rapids Schools of Choice

            The Eaton Rapids School District offers a schools of choice program for students living outside of the district’s boundaries.

            There are multiple ways in which a child can enroll in the schools of choice program in Eaton Rapids schools. The first option involves nonresident children who live within the Eaton Intermediate School District, even though their parents do not. It also includes children who do not live in the district, but live in districts contiguous to the Eaton ISD. Each year, the Eaton Rapids Board of Education determines how many children it can take in as part of the schools of choice program. Students with siblings already enrolled in the school have first priority, and the other spots are filled at random until capacity is reached.

            This is not usually a problem, however, due to the low number of children who want to come into the district from outside. Sandy Haubert, the secretary to the principal at Northwestern Elementary, explains that of the 365 students enrolled at Northwestern this academic year, only six or seven are out-of-district residents. “A lot of their families work here,” said Haubert when asked what the determining factor is for students deciding to enroll. She also said that most schools of choice students come from the Lansing and Springport areas.

            Lansing and Springport are also the cities where Union Street Elementary’s nonresident students live. Of the 252 students enrolled in kindergarten through fourth grade there, only two come to Eaton Rapids from another district. Suzanne Griggs, secretary to Principal Julie Powers at Union Street, said that the two students are not children of school employees; they simply liked the Eaton Rapids district better than their own and took advantage of the option.

            In addition to nonresidents having a schools of choice option, families residing in the district also have the option of which elementary school their child attends. The 1991 School Aid Act allowed this to happen. Each year the superintendent, currently William DeFrance, reviews and submits a plan to the Board of Education to work out all the specifics of the schools of choice.

     This policy coincides with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. If parents of a student find their child is not getting proper treatment, is not safe, or has been a victim of violence, the child is able to transfer to another school inside the district, as long as that school has the necessary grade level and instruction. If another school is not available, students of the Eaton Rapids district will have special permission to attend a school in a neighboring district.

            Overall, there are many ways in which the Eaton Rapids School District deals with the problems faced by students living not only in their district, but also in neighboring districts. With programs such as schools of choice and the No Child Left Behind Act, students are able to get the education and educational environment they desire.








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