Committee votes to continue School Choice in North Attleborough

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Woodcock Administration Building

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

Two years ago, North Attleborough voted to join School Choice as a means to raising revenue, and while the results haven’t been as hoped, the program will continue.

At its April 6 meeting, the School Committee voted unanimously to continue the program another year. The committee votes annually on whether to remain with the program, though those already enrolled through it can remain in the district.

Over the last 10 years, enrollment has dropped by approximately 500 students. The reasons include parents choosing schools such as Tri-County or homeschooling their children. Assistant Superintendent Michelle McKeon said that a benefit to offering School Choice is that programs in danger of ending due to low enrollment could see more students take part.

As of now, the program allows for 10 out-of-district students in grades 9-12, but only six are enrolled. North Attleborough send 15 students to other districts through the School Choice program.

McKeon said that the district will advertise this more and may look into expanding the program to the middle school levels to see if that has more success.

Norton does this and it has worked well,” said McKeon at the meeting. “As we research for next year we may look at middle school.”

School Choice is a program through which parents can send their children to schools in communities other than the one they live in. Tuition is paid by the sending district to the receiving one. Districts may elect not to take part in School Choice students if no space is available.

In its first year in North Attleborough, 10 spots were made available in ninth grade, and this was expanded to the other high school levels in 2021. Parents outside of North Attleborough would need to apply for their child to be considered for School Choice.

The town receives $5,000 from the state for each student in the program, and parents would be responsible for transportation. The Per Pupil Expenditure in North Attleborough is approximately $13,000, which includes teacher salaries and utilities, and this hasn’t seen any increase due to the additional students.