2017-08-24 / Front Page

Cut Off!

Glen Lake restricts new pupils; alumni’s son out
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff


MASON SKEA shows off a ripe tomato from a plant he received during kindergarten roundup in April. Due to enrollment caps for students living outside the Glen Lake School District, he will not be attending Glen Lake. MASON SKEA shows off a ripe tomato from a plant he received during kindergarten roundup in April. Due to enrollment caps for students living outside the Glen Lake School District, he will not be attending Glen Lake. A family that lives just south of M-72 is exploring its options after learning their son will not be able to attend Glen Lake Community Schools as planned.

Billy and Dawn Skea’s son, Mason, had gone to the school’s fee-based preschool last year and participated in kindergarten roundup in April. The family lives off Goodrick Road, just outside of the Glen Lake district.

“He was given a tomato plant and told that when his tomato was ripe, it would be time to go to school,” Billy Skea said. “I can’t bear to tell him that he won’t be a little Laker.”

Historically, Glen Lake has been a a “come one, come all” district, meaning that there were no restrictions on the number of School of Choice (SOC) students enrolled each year provided student numbers did not require the hiring of additional staff.

However, the policy changed on July 26 when the Board of Education voted to limit the number of SOC students at the Young 5 and kindergarten levels. Enrollment is also only available in grades 1-12 for out-of-district students who have previously attended Glen Lake or who have a sibling enrolled.

Earlier in July, the board discussed its SOC policy in light of several factors, including use of federal Impact Aid for capital projects and not operations.

Without the $3.2 million each year in Impact Aid, the district would operate at a $1.5 million structural deficit.

In researching the state law as it pertains to SOC, the board’s policy committee learned that the district had been going about it incorrectly.

“We weren’t alone, most schools in the ISD (Intermediate School District) were doing it wrong,” Superintendent Sander Scott said. “But ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

According to state law, districts must publish the grades, schools and special programs for which it will accept nonresident students.

The notice as to the process and application deadlines must be posted for a minimum of 15 days.

However, the timing couldn’t have been worse for the Skeas, who were assured at roundup that Mason would have a seat in Young 5s.

“We were never told that we were not guaranteed a spot — then nor during the remainder of the school year,” Skea said.

There were seven applicants for four seats available in Young 5s on Aug. 11, the day of the lottery. However, two of the four slots were filled by students with older siblings attending the school, per board policy.

That left two slots available for Young 5s, and the Skeas were not selected.

The couple said they believed that because their son had attended Glen Lake’s pre-school program, he would be “grandfathered” in.

The fee-based daycare/preschool is located in the school complex but is not part of Glen Lake Community Schools, Scott explained.

“We need to make sure we’re in compliance with the law. We’re trying to do what’s best for kids,” the superintendent said. “But some may have been left out.”

The Skeas would like their son to be admitted to the Young 5s class. They say another option, having their son continue as a pre-school student, is less than optimal because it would be repetitive.

“We don’t have ill will against the school,” said Skea, a 1993 Glen Lake graduate who represents the third generation of his family who attended the school. “We just want him to be able to go to school there.”

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