Farmington Schools trustees delay Schools of Choice decision

Farmington Public Schools officials on Tuesday delayed a Schools of Choice vote, over concerns that include crowding at Farmington High School.

A committee that studied the placement of students from outside a school’s attendance area recommended the following:

  • Intra-District (resident) School of Choice applications: Open for kindergarten through eighth grade only
  • PA 227 (non-resident employee): Open for all grade levels
  • Section 105 School of Choice (non-resident students from Oakland County):
    • After placement of Intra-District and PA 227 students, remaining kindergarten through eighth grade spaces, not to exceed 2020-21 staffing levels/ratios, to be opened for Section 105
    • 25 spots open K-8 at each level (total of 225). Waitlist, if applicable, maintained for up to 40 seats at each level
    • Grades 9 – 12 would be closed to Section 105 School of Choice

Before the official conversation, teacher Chris DeYonke asked officials to consider voting down the options, or amending them to add 9th graders in the interdistrict recommendation.

”You’re creating a one-way street in our town, where students zoned for North Farmington can leave for IB (International Baccalaureate), but students in Farmington cannot go north,” he said, adding that Farmington High has absorbed more students from the Harrison High closure.

The crowding at Farmington has led to questions about how building space is being allocated, DeYonke added.

Board of Trustees Vice President Terry Johnson said Farmington got about 70 percent of the former Harrison students, and Assistant Superintendent Aaron Johnson commented that most of the increase is due to attendance boundaries.

Aaron Johnson said that 9th graders were previously included in intradistrict Schools of Choice to join the IB program. The committee was concerned that allowing students to transfer into Farmington for any reason would add to the crowding, he said.

Trustee Jessica Cummings suggested adding 9th graders with language that would limit the number of students based on 2020 staffing levels. A lengthy discussion ended with the recommendation sent back for review by the board’s Policy committee.

Officials will take up the issue again at their January 28 meeting. While intradistrict applications were scheduled to open January 27, Aaron Johnson said moving the date after the meeting would not affect the process.

 

Reported by