Leon County Schools Preparing for Effect of School Choice

They're busy trying to fill the demand for school choice. This school year 1,200 families exercised their right to choose by participating in the School Choice Program, yet this act of opting out or in of a district has created somewhat of an imbalance.

For example, on the elementary level, Gilchrist gained 54 students while Wesson lost 22. In the middle school arena, Cobb, the most popular choice, gained 134 students. On the flip side, Griffin lost 74.

For the high schools, Leon Gained 127 students while Godby lost 56, which means the school district will now have to make adjustments in the teaching team.

Bill Montford, superintendent for Leon County schools, says, "Teachers have the option to request a transfer, but there's no guarantee, and the district can involuntary move teachers."

Kimberly Brock's alma mater Godby High school is one of the schools being advised to hold off on filling spots until numbers firm up. That's why Brock believes School Choice might not be the best decision.

"Families that are strong need to go to the schools they are assigned to and I think sometimes the schools are lacking a little bit and need strong families and that money is taken away from them," says Kimberly.

Yet parents like Debbie Tully like the idea of being able to adopt the academic arena right for her son.

"I think kids get labeled at one school, this gives them the option to get out of environment where teachers have open minded," says Debbie.

Making School Choice an easy choice for her.

Wednesday, school principals received their staffing plans that ask how many and what kind of teachers, administrators and other school related employees they will need for the 2004-2005 school year.