East Detroit Approves Limited Schools of Choice

Mitch Hotts, The Macomb Daily, February 28, 2012

Faced with the grim prospect of payless paydays this summer, the East Detroit Board of Education voted 4-3 Monday night to adopt a Schools of Choice plan for K-8 students in Macomb County, but did not include opening the borders to neighboring counties.

School administrators say under a best-case scenario, the district can attract up to 600 students that would bring in about $4 million in additional state aid revenue. But skeptics doubt those numbers are possible without including students from neighboring Wayne County, including Detroit and Harper Woods.

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The Eastpointe-based school district has long opposed approving a Schools of Choice program, which allows students from other districts within the Macomb Intermediate School District borders to sign up with other districts and take along the per-pupil state aid revenue that goes with each.

In fact, until Monday, East Detroit was the only one of the 21 school communities in Macomb County that didn’t have some form of Schools of Choice. {snip}

The move is an urgent one for East Detroit, which has lost at least 1,400 students over the past four years and has $4.2 million less in operating revenue than last year, due to decreases in state and federal assistance, along with the loss of the student population.

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School officials have said residents in the district oppose allowing in youngsters from Detroit because they are apprehensive of behavioral problems. But administrators say they have remediation plans in place to help those with conduct issues to become productive students.

“We have a great group of teachers who work well with students,” Lelekatch said. “We have had students here who came from Detroit Public Schools who have been very successful.”

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