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Reason Foundation

Lock Them In

Lisa Snell
February 15, 2005, 2:40pm

The headline says it all: Detroit educators in a battle to keep students in the city. In what appears to be Detroit Public Schools' latest attempt to hang on to students, officials said Tuesday they will no longer give students waivers to attend other districts. It's unclear how many of the estimated 6,000 Detroit students attending suburban public schools will be affected. The DPS could not provide that number. Detroit Public Schools has a $200-million deficit, which administrators blame largely on declining enrollment. The district has lost 40,000 students during the past decade, and says it could lose 10,000 a year until 2008. Last week, the district announced 34 schools would close in June. Each DPS student who leaves costs the district $7,180 a year in state funding. In addition to the 6,000 students attending schools-of-choice districts, an estimated 33,000 Detroit students attend charter schools. School choice districts are those that open their borders to students who live outside that district. I'm not sure how this will be legal as the schools-of-choice program is a state-level program. It will be interesting to see if Detroit can legally deny a child the right of exit if other districts are willing to accept the child.

Lisa Snell is Director of Education


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