SPECIAL SCHOOL BOARD MEETING Feb 29, 2024
In a little more than 10 minutes, the board opened the district to what is known as controlled open enrollment. That means a child can go to any school in Martin County regardless of where they live.
There are a few parameters around the plan. To attend a Martin County high school, the student must be full time. If there are openings after all zoned students are accommodated, students will be taken in this order:children of school employees, military, court ordered, or in foster care children of Martin County residents non-resident children of military, court ordered, or in foster care nonresident children
High School students may only play sports at the school they attend. Determination will be made by lottery. Open enrollment can be applied for through March for the following year. Once applied and there is no space presently available in the school of choice, the child can go onto a waiting list.
The vote was unanimous.
Are we moving away from the neighborhood school concept? It looks like the district is to some limited extent. Once accepted into a school, the child remains a student for all subsequent grades in that school. If the kid is from St. Lucie County, Martin County would receive the child’s allotted funding from the state.
In some respect for intra-district students, this is a form of competition. It is far from charters but probably a step in the right direction.
The district just spent $65 million for two new elementary schools. Does that mean we didn’t need to replace those two schools that were in poor physical condition? Could the district have just expanded existing school boundaries to accommodate the need?
Because of other factors like maximum class sizes, long range planning is hard. The district felt that with the number of new homes, there would be a need for more seats. Instead, fewer children moved into the homes. Is that the new normal?
Several years must go by before we can know the answers to any of these questions. In the meantime, open enrollment will help fill the seats that would go empty otherwise.