To stay or not to stay? That is the question Michigan parents have when it comes to deciding where to send their children to school.
Another deciding factor is cost. Sarah LaLonde says that she grew up in Mason, and graduated from Mason Public Schools. However, she could not afford to live in Mason, so she bought a home in Holt and sends her two children to Mason Public Schools through schools of choice. She said teachers in the district make a large impact on the students.
“The teachers really seem to care about the students too,” she said. “My daughter is one of The Mason Promise Scholarship recipients. Her teacher this year, Mr. Johnson, has really changed how she views her education.”
The Mason Promise Scholarship guarantees funding for two years of education at Lansing Community College. Promise scholars are chosen at the end of fifth grade and receive mentoring and career possibilities over the next six years at Mason Public Schools. This is an opportunity and an incentive that can help students in the district succeed.
Introduced to Michigan in 1996, the Michigan Department of Education website says that “Schools of Choice programs provide students with additional enrollment opportunities, which range from allowing students to determine which school within the resident district they will enroll, to allowing non-resident students to enroll in a district other than their own.”
Many families have to weigh the pros and cons of leaving their own school district and going to another. They weigh academics, specialized programs, diversity, safety, transportation, extracurricular activities and more.
Nicole Elliott has moved her children around quite often the past few years. She moved to Mason, but sent her children to Holt due to proximity. Now that her children are getting older, she is moving them to Mason Public Schools for safety reasons.
“Now that my oldest is going to junior high next year, their father suggested switching them to Mason,” Elliott said.
She also said that with the bullying and bomb scares that have happened in the past, she was not against the idea of moving her children to a different district.
Often, the children themselves have a part in the decision. Kristen Leigh says her daughter made the decision herself.
“She did play sports for Holt for a little while, and she decided she wanted to leave and play for her district this year,” she said. “She felt like an outcast, but they weren’t inclusive. I feel like it gave us a look at how school there would be. She played a part in the decision.”
Schools of choice is simply that — a choice. Many factors come into play with schools of choice, but ultimately, it is up to the families to make the choice that is best for them.