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Trenton Board of Education Passes Schools of Choice

Trenton Board of Education members voted in favor of limited open enrollment Monday night.

members voted 6-1 in favor of making Trenton Public Schools a limited open enrollment district Monday night at a regularly scheduled board of education meeting.

Board members approved allowing up to 60 students into the district at various grade levels.

For the 2012-13 school year the district will be open to 20 kindergartners, 10 first graders and 30 ninth graders living outside Trenton.

Board members Carol Oakley and Dennis Bearden said they were formerly against Schools of Choice, but felt a lack of funding to the district helped them make the decision to vote in favor of the recommendation.

Wayne Sieloff was the only board member to vote against Schools of Choice.

The decision to keep limited open enrollment can be revisited each semester and potentially voted upon again. A board member must request a meeting to discuss open enrollment to have a formal vote.

If the district fills all 60 openings, it could bring in about $310,000 in additional revenue, even after providing the appropriate staffing for increased student enrollment.

A are the primary reasons for limited open enrollment according to interim Superintendent Larry Leapley.

Check back with Trenton Patch throughout the week for more information on this story.

*In a previous version of this article Wayne Sieloff's name was incorrect.

Suzen April 17, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Not only Taylor don't forget they bulldozed Owen a few years ago...SAD. It was a BEAUTIFUL school.
Thonya Huddleston April 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM
I have to say that I fully agree with Jane's statement (There's this "old school" clique in Trenton that allows a student to get away with anything, as long as the parents socialize with the administration.) I too, have seen this happen! My son had issues with a kid at the Elementary level for years and turned in to a total mess when brought to the Principal's attention. My son was treated completely different from then on (in a bad way) and I will always believe it was because she (the Principal) was good friends with the other parent. All I have to say is thank goodness she is gone and he has also moved on to Middle School for a fresh start and doing great!! So Jane, I totally sympathize with what you have gone through here. And for the record, I am against School of Choice also! But not for the "We are better than others" reason!
Home Owner, Tax Payer April 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Parents need to show up at the board meetings.. Many more cuts and changes are coming.. Get informed and be prepared.
Trenton Resident with kids April 17, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Unfortunately you will see as many leaving Trenton as being accepted with this development. This is what happens in other Downriver Communities. Grosse Isle would love to have some good Trenton kids.
Trenton Family April 17, 2012 at 02:52 PM
D. - I wish we lived in a perfect world where race didn't matter. I wish we lived in a world where all parents share the same values that you and I seem to regarding appreciation of diversity and equality. Sadly, racism and racial tensions still exist and are a reality, and to ignore this as a risk would be obtuse. I have seen first-hand the racial tensions of which I speak in a neighboring district. The residential, mainly white students began fighting back against the outside-of-the- district, mainly minority students because they complained of the minority students bringing in gang mentality, weapons, drugs, and taking away from teaching time via distractions, class clowning, disrespect to authority figures. The anger and resentment from both sides brewed on and on, and no amount of "Diversity Days," assemblies, or motivational speakers could control it. It culminated in a race riot of sorts, with serious consequences for the students (both social and legal.) Bottom line: Racial tensions are real. Pretending humanity is beyond that is wishful thinking.
Trenton Family April 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM
It sadly isn't. Please see my response to D. Randall Gilmer. It has absolutely happened locally and is a real possibility to consider, as unfortunate as it is.
worried mom April 17, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Its not far to compare Trenton to Riverview since Riverview is ranked higher than Trenton. Ckeck out http://michigan.gov/mde/0,1607,7-140-37818_56562---RSS,00.html. When my daughter was in 5th grade she was told the class was taking a district wide test that would go in her permanant file. The teacher checked all tests and anyone who got more than 3 wrong was given the test back to fix. So the teachers are trying to make the district look better than it really is.
Trenton Resident with kids April 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I would like to know how much research was put into this decision. I want to know how the board will choose who is accepted. This is a slippery slope that will end up hurting the Trenton community in the long run. We have alot of parents/students who have invested blood, sweat, tears, and taxes for many years. The next school board meeting will be packed, guaranteed.
Jen Duncan April 17, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The reason we will have racial tensions has to do with the parents and how they raise their kids...unfortunately Trenton is well known for being a racist community....just ask some of my black friends. The parents should get their act together and teach their kids about equality.
Tired of it all. April 17, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Race should never be an issue. However, behavior is. The reality is that the majority of students who move to another district are due to a problems, problems we will now inherit. Also of concern, are the 30 freshman. Its not just education that will be affected. Sports are a huge part of our children's high school career. Now, those students whose parents are paying taxes to Trenton schools, whose children have been going to Trenton since elementary, will potentially lose their spots on their sports team to students whose parents are not even paying Trenton taxes!. You see this in other schools of choice, with the school 'recruiting' for sports. I think this is why they have brought it to the high school level. What a shame. Once again, we and our children pay the price. I believe that since they voted for school of choice, that the HH tax should be revoked. And also, I would like to say "Thank you Wayne for trying to do the right thing!"
Ron April 17, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Somehow I knew they were going to push this through and how did 9th graders get into the mix. Guess that was just a smoke screen that they were only going to allow k to 2 aged children. As I said before, this is a bandaid solution to a much bigger problem. There will be no stopping this freight train now. I say its time to recall those school board members that pushed this through against the will of the great people of this community.
jflip April 17, 2012 at 07:11 PM
What a SELL OUT for 310,000, thanks alot Trenton, here comes the riff raff, you'll see.
Ian April 17, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The amount of money the school gets per child means that we are able to maintain a higher staff to student ratio if there are more students enrolled. Increasing enrollment decreases overcrowding of individual classrooms.
sine-of-the-times April 17, 2012 at 08:37 PM
more money funnelling out of schools today today to push tax break for companies...go SNyder....go away..http://www.educ.msu.edu/epfp/meet/01-26-04propa.htm
Ian April 17, 2012 at 08:47 PM
This seems very prejudicial. I can't speak for the character of other people, especially ones that I've never met. But there are a large number of people in THS already that disgust me with their indolence, immaturity, and self-inflicted ignorance. I doubt that the people coming in will be worse. A lot of the students I know have their own family problems, and believe me, drugs and alcohol have long since established themselves within the community. It doesn't take a police dog to notice the empty chewing tobacco containers in the boy's bathrooms or to see the red, puffy, swollen eyes of the guy in corner that seems to smell a little odd. I used to be surprised when I heard friends from other districts talk about how Trenton residents act "elite," but seeing the way people react here has changed my mind. -Still a Junior at THS
Ian April 17, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I've heard a lot about this, though I haven't seen much of it. That may be due to TPS being predominantly white. I can say from experience that there are a core of good kids at Trenton, though I doubt they are a majority. Generally speaking, approval of racist thought and action decreases the younger the people you analyze become.
jflip April 17, 2012 at 09:34 PM
On the other hand, get the money for the kids and when they're in the office for bad behavior, and they will be in the office, kick them out. Its genious, what a good scam Trenton.
Thonya Huddleston April 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
I am very upset about attacks on those who oppose this. We are being viewed at racists, elitists etc...I don't think we are "better" than any other downriver community as we are being accused. From what I have read, most of us that oppose this issue are concerned caring parents that like having a sense of community which undoubtedly will be lost. Many, including myself, are also concerned about overcrowding. This comes from watching 2 schools close and the overwhelming feeling of all those children being crammed into the remaining schools. I, for one, will never forget the first day back to Anderson after Owen closed. It was pure craziness for quite a while. There were make shift classrooms for at least that first year. It was ridiculous. Children were crying because they lost their sense of security. Even though we were not given a choice, we were told that is what would make our district better. Then Taylor closed, pretty much same scenario. We are now left to wonder what else is going to be taken away. I do not understand what is wrong with us feeling that way. Many of us moved here for the school system but if I lived in any other city I would still be against open enrollment. And I believe this is not out of the ordinary for a good community of concerned parents to be upset. (continued below..)
Thonya Huddleston April 17, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I don't see open enrollment doing great things for other districts. They still struggle. They still pay to play. Busing has still been taken away from some. And they still have overcrowding issues! I know for a fact there was an uproar of angry residents in Southgate when they went to open enrollment for the same reasons. I'm sure Riverview was not happy about it either. I also want to say I agree with holding our Government accountable for this but I don't think we are in complete distress and the residents should have had a say with a vote. $310,000 is not going to make or break us which leaves me to believe this “limited enrollment” is not going to stay so limited. And before anyone says that we voted “The Board” into office, if I remember correctly before election day there was more than one person listed on the ballot that claimed they were opposed to open enrollment. So please don't take one or two opposing comments and make your assumptions as to how we all feel. Read all of them and then take a moment to think about how the majority of us feel! Just as I did!!!
Trenton Resident with kids April 18, 2012 at 12:17 AM
I recall surveys over the yeasrs, from the board about SOC, and it would loose in a popular vote. The board has gone against the wishes of the residents and they will have to reconsider. We just recently approved millions in funding for ugrades to the remaining schools. This really burns me up and I know of many other residents who feel as I do.
Jane Smith April 18, 2012 at 12:49 AM
You are absolutely right, Thonya. Fact is fact, not elitist...other districts went downhill when schools of choice came in and this one will, too. But, I have to say that Trenton started going downhill long ago. It's just that it will be worse now.
Jane Smith April 18, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Yes, we are anonymous. We've lived that way for a couple of years now due to the bullying. Yes, they do need to see that movie but I doubt it will have any effect. When you have administrators who are bullies themselves (and she knows who she is) who are a part of the "clique" and let their own kids and friends' kids get away with anything and everything, you can't expect much because of the example of behavior being set forth by the adults. The administration at TPS talks big talk about "Anti Bullying Policy" but that is a lot of hot air and nothing else. We have moved on to a better education and better educators. And the bonus is, Trenton Public Schools had to sign away all funding for our kids to another district when we pulled them out! Now they cry poor mouth so much, tell me if that makes sense. Give up thousands of dollars instead of doing your job. That in itself should make people mad. I wish the good people (what few of you there are) at TPS the best of luck---you're going to need it!!
John Q Public April 18, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I resent having to pay extra millage to the schools to boost the per student funding when the school of choice parents won't have to do so. When the millage comes up again I fully intend to vote NO on it and urge other property owners to do the same.
Ron April 18, 2012 at 06:28 AM
It's time to recall those responsible for this totally irresponsible decision. This is just the beginning. They (the board) have lied and mislead the community about this entire situation. It will only get bigger from here on out. This decision is not going to solve their budget problems. They have to physically fix that I'm making changes and operating within their budget. Let's get real and stop dreaming. It's time to recall the irresponsible six!
Annie Ominous April 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM
The only riff-raff are the board members. They have been incapable of making clear decisions for years, and the bulk of them have been members for years. They are so detached it is laughable. The administration thinks they are a brain trust. Between the 2 groups, I don't think there is one person who is qualified to run a simple hot dog stand. They have now business experience, yet they 'suit up' as if they are executives. The reality is, the schools should have been made schools of choice years ago, before the closing of Taylor, the outsourcing of key staff, the loss of key staff due to the lack of leadership. On and on. And for those of you who think Trenton as a community is 'above' the communities around, remember, this is the place where a girl with Huntington's was harassed, a cross was burned in the yard of a family, and price rates are rising. Trenton is no more immune to having 'riff-raff' than any other community. Don't take it out on the kids who come here. Let them come and at least give them the chance to succeed and start fresh. Don't like the decision? Fine, but look to the real problem, a total lack of leadership ability in the board and administration. Don't blame parents and kids elsewhere for wanting to better them selves. The one thing Trenton has going for it is its' teachers. Dump the board, dump the admins and you will start solving the long term problems Trenton schools have.
Annie Ominous April 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
"no business experience' and "crime rates", not "price rates"
Trenton Resident with kids April 18, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Live in the city, pay the taxes, and attend the schools. Pretty simple. One reason Trenton is attractive is the reputation of a good school system. With SOC there is no incentive to buy a house in Trenton. There are vacant homes in my neighborhood and recently some are selling with young families moving in. With SOC these homes will sit longer. The housing crisis will eventually improve but it will improve in Trenton faster WITH OUT SOC. The comments about race, diversity, and Trenton people being snobs has nothing to do with what is right or wrong about SOC. Let's make the dialog meaningful.
Jjjjjdd April 24, 2012 at 04:39 PM
This is about saving teachers jobs in trenton. I wonder how the teachers feel in the surroundijng communities that will have less students in there classrooms! Spreading the problem around (poor funding) affects both sidesof the equation. Trenton real estate will be affected by this decision!
Les August 15, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Sounds like an angry Democrat ---- I guess your union bosses have a direct pipeline into your ear!
Trenton Family October 15, 2012 at 05:30 PM
I too have seen the affects of "School of choice" in a neighboring city and it has become a terrible place to go to school. The tensions amoung the students who differ in race and culture do not get along at all with the "incoming" out of city students taking many of the "sports" positions previously held by students who are from the city but not would choose not to play as they are sitting on benches etc. I think that we pay very high taxes to have not had this happen and feel "betrayed" in a way paying these taxes for other students to come here and disrespect our school and city with their attitudes and lack of knowledge. This is the opportunity many people were looking for to invade this city and school and make a sort of "mockery" of it....this is definately not going to work and I feel very sorry for the kids that will have to suffer the consequences for this action. I am praying that no one will get hurt in these schools because of the new "students" that will be trying to take over! Terrible, terrible move!!!!!

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