I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
How to Lose Good Students and Good Families Part II
As a district, we should want to try to win over good families and good students--we should strive to keep them in our schools instead of pushing them into a neighboring county or into private schools.
But our recent change in the way we offer military preference has riled some families.
A military family with a three year assignment to our area should have the preference for this entire period; some families I have spoken with are displeased with a recent procedural change by the district and the school choice office which essentially takes away the middle year of this three year assignment, meaning that a rising 6th grader in year two and a rising 9th grader in year two cannot utilize the preference to be enrolled in the program of their choice.
A strict reading of the interstate compact supports this interpretation, however the family I spoke with recently said they were unaware of this procedural change when they decided to move to Escambia County over Santa Rosa County, as now they are told that because they are in their second full year here they are not "transitioning" and therefore they do not get the preference.
"We would never have come to Escambia County if we could not use this accommodation as we were told we could when we moved here" said the parent. "We would have gone to Santa Rosa County--we feel like this is unfair to change the procedure after we already came here thinking we could use this to get our student in WFHS"
As it pertains to the military, I prefer the former interpretation of the compact which gave preference to military families. If we do not revisit this, I have every confidence that military families that are savvy will not come to Escambia County when they locate here--they'll go to Santa Rosa County and that county will get the ad-valorem tax revenue for the purchased housing, and that school system will get the $8,000.00 per year per child in FTE---while the parents commute to Escambia and use our infrastructure and clock their paychecks over here.
Failure to show deference to good families and good students will be a boom to the County next door. This is how we lose good students and good families.....