NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

July 2, 2013

For first time, Triton sees more students 'choicing in'

By Michelle Marshall
Correspondent

---- — BYFIELD — Confidence in the Triton Regional School District is growing, as evidenced by the fact that for the first time since 1996, when the district became involved in the state’s School Choice program, more students will choice-in to Triton’s schools than choice-out for the 2013-14 school year.

“The trend speaks to the work of our teachers and school administrators, who are committed to the goal of ensuring that all students experience a curriculum that has depth and rigor, and is developmentally appropriate,” said Superintendent Christopher Farmer. “I also believe that families are becoming increasingly aware of the quality of our after-school programs, and the transparency of the budget-setting process.”

The low point came in 2007 when the number of Triton resident students attending schools in other districts exceeded the number of incoming students resident in other districts by 150. In 2009, the difference was 130. Since then the number of Triton students choicing-out has reduced steadily, with some increase in the number of students in other districts attending Triton schools. In September 2013, the number of students choicing-in and -out will be 162.43 to 161.57 respectively.

The right of families to choose to send their children to schools located in districts in which they are not residents is guaranteed by law. School districts must accept students from other communities as long as there is space available.

The state transfers its estimate of the cost of educating a “choice student” (currently $5,000) from the home district to the providing district through adjustments to state aid.

“As a district, we do have more work to do to ensure that we are reaching all students effectively; however, the confidence that our communities are demonstrating in our schools suggests that we are moving in the right direction,” said Farmer.