Florida county consider full school choice

Friday, March 7, 2014

Palm Beach County could dramatically change the concept of neighborhood schools and give parents far more choices for their children's education.

A proposal discussed at a School Board workshop Wednesday would divide the county into four or five regional zones. Students would still get assigned to specific schools through the boundary process, but their parents could more easily opt out and choose from six to eight other schools in their area. Transportation would be provided within their region. "We would have 100 percent school choice," School Board member Mike Murgio said.

The proposal, still in its early stages of development, could help the district compete with charter schools, which have no specific attendance zones and have been attracting a growing number of public school students. The idea may even save the district $18 million due to more lenient class size reduction requirements for choice schools, said Peter Licata, director of career and choice options.

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