State law only allows students to use Schools of Choice to attend schools either within their ISD (105 Choice) or within an ISD that borders theirs (105c Choice). Cooperative School of Choice programs tend to be limited to districts within a student’s resident ISD.[*] As discussed, nearly 80 percent of students using Schools of Choice are attending a school in a district within their resident ISD. The districts most likely to be affected by this limitation are those that offer online or other innovative academic programs — they are not able to enroll students who live farther away, even if those students would be taking courses where little or no physical attendance is required.

Districts are also unable to open schools outside of their boundaries. While this might seem like an unlikely scenario, there are many Michigan districts that enroll a large number of students who do not live within their district. It is certainly possible that districts such as Clintondale or West Bloomfield, which take in more than 1,000 Schools of Choice students each, could make use of the ability to open a school in the community of nonresident students they serve. To provide more students with more choices, all geographic limitations on Schools of Choice should be removed.

[*]  Although some districts, such as Berrien Springs, are establishing cooperative programs with districts outside their own ISD.