In 1991 Michigan passed legislation that encouraged public school districts to experiment with intra-district school choice options. Intra-district choice allows students to apply to attend other schools within the same school district. Inter-district school choice, which allows students to apply to attend schools in other school districts, was rather limited in Michigan until 1996. In June of 1996, the governor signed Senate Bill 851, the annual appropriations bill for school aid, which authorized inter-district schools of choice within intermediate school districts. School districts within the intermediate school district can make decisions about the extent to which they will participate in the inter-district choice program. Since the 1996-97 school year is the first year of the program, significant data are not yet available, but the existence of the program gives at least some parents yet another option to pursue as they decide on their children’s schooling.16

Some parents have also been able to send their children to traditional public schools in other intermediate school districts. This, however, requires the permission of the receiving school district superintendent and, if funding is to be released, the permission of the home school district superintendent. If funding is not released, the receiving school district may charge the parents tuition. For example, Rory Pettipas was refused a funding release by the Meridian School District superintendent when his parents chose to enroll him in a gifted and talented program at Handley Elementary School in the Saginaw Public School system. His parents were charged $1,800 tuition. 17