Open Borders, a small portion of House Bill 2567, means any student eligible to attend a public school within the state, regardless of whether the student is a resident of the district, can enter a waiting list for a district based on its capacity. “It's pretty much everything in the kitchen sink,” Superintendent Brett White says. By January 1st, 2024 every district will adopt a new policy determining the number of students they have enrolled and can enroll. Currently, there are only two ways to get into an Andover school: You live in the district and support the tax base or a guardian works at least twenty hours a week in the district for a minimum of nine months. The passing of House Bill 2567 would mean that anyone in the state could enroll in an Andover school with a current enrollment lower than their capacity.
Superintendent Brett White states that “Capacity is kind of a key part of this. Every district has to define what their capacity is.” Capacity is decided by the student to teacher ratio. If the number of students is greater than teachers, then we would have to hire more teachers. However, the funding for the school doesn't come in until the following year, meaning the school board would have to fund the new teachers and any added costs. By May 1st of each year, we would say what our capacity is of the district, the number of students expected to attend, and the number of open seats for the following school year.
Students would submit applications between June 1st and June 30th. If the number of applications is equal to or less than the capacity, all applicants must be accepted. If more applications than capacity, then we would resort to the lottery system. If a student is accepted, they stay up until twelfth grade and their siblings get priority on the waiting list. The school cannot be biased when accepting applications; the only reason for denial being previous absenteeism, suspension and expulsions. Non Residential students would be in charge of their own transportation “The district could do that, but we’ve never done that and I couldn't see that happening,” Brett White stated.
Before we adopt the bill, the board would have to have a hearing open to the public. Inviting parents, students and community members to come and share their thoughts.