School board votes to expand efforts for attracting students

During this month’s North Clackamas School Board meeting, elected education officials opted for the district’s “aggressive” choice to attract more families to schools in the area.

NCSD lost more than 200 students, mostly to Gladstone, due to open enrollment last year. NCSD’s plan to attract 50 students to high schools last year only got nine students. However, NCSD’s total enrollment is still creeping back toward its high of 17,708 in 2008. This year’s 17,185 students is up from 17,044 last year.

School board members voted 5-2 on Feb. 13 to attract $8,419 average revenue per student, hoping that a large influx of disabled students don’t outweigh their reimbursement from the state.

Kyle Walker and Trisha Claxton opposed the aggressive policy after Assistant Superintendent Tiffany Shireman warned that the new approach would require a shift in the district’s thinking about neighborhood schools and risk raising class sizes in schools that receive open-enrollment requests.

Despite those reservations, the district is going to market its largest professional-technical program in Oregon and Clackamas County’s only International Baccalaureate program. Expansion continues on its more than 150 high school electives, 17 Right Brain Initiative schools, advanced college credit offerings, magnet school options and dozens of sports and activities.

“We believe we have a relevant and challenging curriculum,” said Superintendent Matt Utterback. “Our educators promote high expectations, cultural understanding, and productive study habits. We are setting the pace for education in Oregon.”

A total of 340 openings available includes 20 spots at all the district’s middle schools. Clackamas, Milwaukie and Rex Putnam high schools each will accept 20 open enrollees in ninth and 10th grades, and 10 in 11th grade, while the New Urban magnet high school will accept up to 30 for all grades. Most of the district’s elementary schools are offering 10 openings each, except Linwood, El Puente, Rock Creek and the four elementary schools left in the Rex Putnam feeder area after this year’s closure of Concord. That means neither of NCSD’s bilingual programs will be available for open-enrollment transfers.

The district is accepting applications from March 1 through 4 p.m. April 1. For questions, contact Shawn Pickle at 503-353-6005.

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