School of choice hurts city schools

Posted at 6:31 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 08:33:29-04

Diane Janetzke is one of many parents who have chosen to send her kids to another school district through school of choice.

"We live in the Lansing school district, but we send my son, Charlie, to Holt," says Janetzke.

The Holt School District is one of the more competitive in the area, according to Janetzky.

"They only have a certain number of kids that can get into Holt so we were lucky that we were able to get in," Janetzky says.

But families choosing to use school of choice can hurt city schools, like the Lansing School District.

"It's over 3000 students who live in the Lansing school district, but attend classes somewhere else," explains Peter Spadafore, president of the Lansing school board.

Spadafore says that Lansing is hurting from the loss of funding that goes with students leaving.

"We would have about a 14,000 student district, multiply that by $7500 per student, that's the kind of money we're talking about going out the door."

Without that money, the district has had to make cuts.

"Every year that I've been on the board we've adopted a budget that requires some level of sacrifice," says Spadafore.

Now, the Lansing school district is seeing that the loss of students to other districts is stabilizing.

"Certainly we have a choice-deficit," Spadafore laughs, "but we think that the numbers are showing that choice is slowing down."

Some students are starting to come from other districts to Lansing, and once they're there Spadafore says they will stay long term.