At our EMID Families meeting this week we learned of a new plan afoot for 622 families in EMID, this time being pushed by MDE.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has woken up to the situation of existing 622 families in EMID and is working on a plan to help make continuing with EMID schools possible. The open enrollment option that EMID had been working on had one severe drawback for many families, it would require them to subsidize transportation of the kids to EMID. Both open enrollment at EMID and the transportation arrangement that EMID was trying to work out would have been unprecedented in the state, so MDE had to be involved in making way for these options. Now that MDE is awake to the situation they have determined that another course would be simpler, no open enrollment, no costly transportation, instead they would simply allow 622 families who already have a child in EMID to continue sending their children to EMID schools with fully subsidized transportation (in other words, free to the families) until they graduated from EMID or decided to leave the district for other reasons.
This plan differs from open enrollment in that other families, who have not yet had kids attending EMID schools, would not be able to send their kids to EMID. The MDE plan applies only to families currently enrolled in EMID, though it would allow younger siblings to take advantage of EMID. EMID would not be allowed to open enroll other students from 622 or any other district.
This plan is very good news for existing 622 families in EMID. It means your kids can continue at Harambee and Crosswinds without any extra transportation cost. We got this message from Shari Thompson in the EMID administration:
EMID has not had the authority to open enroll students directly to our district and all of this is precedent setting for EMID as well as the state. While we would welcome attendance from all ISD 622 families, our first commitment is to continue to serve our current families which includes the much needed transportation services for students. Please be assured that this issue is of the highest priority to us and we are continuing to work to resolve the situation. We are hopeful that we can come to final resolution with MDE very soon and as soon as we have that information we will communicate it to all families.
Note, this plan is not yet a done deal. Details may shift. The MDE commissioner has yet to sign off on the plan and other details need to be settled with EMID and 622. We are sharing this because we believe that some information is better than silence, but we hope you understand that the outline of this plan could still shift before the dust settles.
Longer term this plan does close down some creative options for EMID to expand its appeal as an open enrollment destination for families across the metro area. EMID is actively working with other integration districts across the metro to find areas where common effort can increase the opportunities and efficiencies of all the districts.
UPDATE: A reader asked me “Do you know Eric what that means for new families that are registered for next year already?”
The answer from Shari…
“Unfortunately we don’t yet have an answer to this question. EMID will make the argument that these families applied for enrollment to the EMID schools while we were all (EMID, ISD 622, and MDE) under the impression that open enrollment was the best viable option. We are awaiting word from MDE before we can continue the dialogue with them.”