Why School Choice Is So Important to Brian

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Mar 25, 2014 No Comments ›› Re-Elect Brian Sloan

schoolchoiceOne of the things that I have been passionate about for quite a while is offering more choices to families regarding their schools.

On a personal note, with our first child, Brandon, the school system would allow a child to go to a school out of his/her attendance zone IF there were space in that school and the Principal accepted them. So, Brandon was actually invited to go to a school outside of our attendance zone (Spout Springs) and we let him go – totally legal and legit.

Then, when our daughter, Caitlin, began school she enrolled in Spout Springs also, out of our attendance zone again, but we still had approval. So, both of our children were settled and happy at Spout Springs.

However, here’s where it got tough for our children. When the School District started growing so fast and schools started filling up and having space issues, the board at that time made a ruling that students must attend the school in their attendance zone.  Well, Brandon and Caitlin were ruled to be “grandfathered” into Spout Springs Elementary School in which they had been attending. However, enter our third child, Karis. Even though we had two children settled into an elementary school in which they were comfortable, the school board would not allow Karis to enroll in the school in which her brother and sister were attending. I was furious. That wasn’t the reason I ran for office, but I knew how I felt about school choice.

Being a board member myself now, I know the position that the district was in at that time and, in general, I understand why they had to confine students to attendance zones. However, I still think it wasn’t family friendly not to allow my third child to go to school with her siblings. Actually, I think it was wrong.

Well, by that time we had moved into our home in the Chestnut Mountain area, so our choices were to let Brandon and Caitlin stay at Spout Springs and let Karis go to Chestnut Mountain by herself or move them all into Chestnut Mountain School. Well, obviously we weren’t going to separate our children so we moved all three to Chestnut Mountain Elementary School. And although Brandon and Caitlin were tentative about the move, it worked out well as the Principal at that time, Susan Bagwell, and her great staff made my children feel welcome and, of course Chestnut Mountain was and certainly still is a great school.

It wasn’t about one school being good and the other being bad. It was about a family having to move their children out of a school in which they were comfortable because of attendance zone lines. So, that is one personal reason I am so passionate about school choice for families. But now my reasoning is so much deeper than personal experience. The strictness of the district’s attendance zone policy proved to be a burden to many other families. So, our board set out to solve the problem as well as we could.

Since that time I’m so very proud of what this Board, this Superintendent, and this great staff of teachers have done to go from virtually no school choice to 11 Charter schools and 12 other Schools of choice in just a very few years.

Now, a child who has more of an interest in technology may want to attend the Martin Academy of Technology, or an artistic child may choose the McEver Arts academy, or maybe a family might choose the Mount Vernon Exploratory School or many other schools of choice or Charter Schools in our District – providing that each of these have space availability.

When many didn’t think this Board of Education would ever allow school choice, we have done so…in a huge way. Now we are about to operate with Full District Choice as long as there is availability in the school you choose.

School Choice is something that I will continue to stand for and I would appreciate you helping me stand for it on May 20.


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