MUHS maintains 15 slots for ‘school choice’
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union High School next year will continue to serve 15 students from surrounding districts as part of the state’s limited public school choice program.
The Addison Central School District board last week agreed to preserve the 15 slots, which are consistently all spoken for by students from the adjacent Addison Northwest and Mount Abraham union school districts. Bill Lawson, principal of MUHS, said there are typically three or four more applicants than there are available slots, thus triggering a lottery.
Some of the incoming out-of-district students are seeking the MUHS placements primarily for the rigor and diversity of the educational curriculum; others are particularly interested in the school’s more abundant sports offerings.
Vermont’s Act 129 of 2012 allows students to apply to attend any other high school in the state. Schools are allowed to limit the number of students who may transfer from another district, with a cap of 10 percent of resident students or 40 —whichever is smaller. Schools may set higher limits, according to the law.
It should be noted the incoming students attend on the receiving district’s dime. State aid does not follow these students who attend high schools outside of their home district.
The “choice” students are not to be confused with those who are tuitioned to other districts because they don’t have a high school of their own. Lawson noted the Route 100 community of Rochester — which recently closed its high school — is currently reviewing possible tuition placements for its students. MUHS plans to compete for some of those placements.
“Fifteen is still a good number,” ACSD Superintendent Peter Burrows said of the school choice number.
It’s a number that would allow four new out-of-district students to attend MUHS beginning this fall. The remaining 11 slots are already occupied by students in various stages of their MUHS careers.
The ACSD board on Jan. 22 overwhelmingly OK’d the 15 “school choice” slots for the 2018-19 academic year, though member Jason Duquette-Hoffman suggested the district consider offering a larger number of placements to accommodate those who get shut out through the annual lottery. He asked the board to consider raising the number of slots from 15 to 20.
“Why make what is essentially an arbitrary distinction because it’s historically accurate, when the margin between that number (15) and the number of kids who have historically wanted to come is pretty narrow?” Duquette-Hoffman said.
Board members ultimately agreed to stick with 15, given the absence of funding for incoming choice students.
“It does divert from the people who are funding the system and that we’re responsible for,” Burrows said. “To me, that’s part of the question about ‘what’s the right number?’”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)
BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)
See when your favorite high school team is competing in the fall sports playoffs.