The borough’s school district has received 21 requests from local students who wish to attend Lenape Valley Regional High School starting next September.
The Board of Education will discuss these requests at the next public meeting after reviewing the item in the work session Monday.
The work session allows board members to preview and discuss items that will be on the public meeting agenda. The next meeting is scheduled for next Monday.
The requests were made by parents of current eighth graders who would attend Hopatcong High School in September 2013. The newly expanded school choice program allows any school which applies to be allowed to accept students from other districts.
There is no tuition payment to any choice school. They leave Hopatcong and are placed on the enrollment roles of the choice school and the choice school receives the state aid for that student. The student’s home district must attempt to provide transportation at a cost not to exceed $884 per student. Should that figure be exceeded, the student’s home district must provide $884 as aid in lieu of transportation to the parent/guardian. The parent/guardian must provide their own transportation.
Business Administrator Theresa Sierchio said the 21 requests to attend the Stanhope high school exceeds the Hopatcong district’s self imposed limit of 15 choice students.
In addition, Superintendent Charles Mananzano said that Lenape Valley can only accept 10 percent of a given class as choice students. With an eighth grade of approximately 170 students, only 17 choice students could be accepted in the 2013 freshman class.
Board member Susan Madar said she had spoken to some of the parents of the students seeking the transfer and they indicated they were seeking to ensure they had the opportunity to transfer if that became their final decision.
The board pondered why students would seek to attend another high school.
“Public opinion is that Lenape has better programs,” said board member Joanne Passerini. “But I tell parents that if students are willing to do the work, we will help them get wherever they want.”
Lenape is seen as a richer school, Maranzano said, with more elective programs, and it does not have the history of repeatedly failing to pass annual school budgets.
Other items to be discussed at the public meeting are the formation of the High School of the Future task force, and the beginning of a search for the replacement for Maranzano, who will retire in 2013 at the end of the current school year.
Correction: A previous version of this story contained incorrect information regarding tuition payments to the choice school. The story has been changed to reflect the correct information.