The Fate of Rockford's Magnet Schools

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The Rockford School Board discusses eliminating the magnet status from several Rockford schools.

The Federal grant money for Rockford's Magnet Schools could run out as early as next year, so the board's education committee met tonight to discuss which schools will be de-magnetized first.

At least four schools could lose their magnet status in the first phase of cuts. By the time the phase-out is complete, the board says they would like five magnet schools to remain.

Teachers, parents and students from Dennis Williams Nature Science Magnet School came to the committee meeting tonight to convince board members to take their school off the list of cuts.

Magnet schools are themed schools, focusing on subjects like science or communication, capable of attracting large numbers of students from different racial backgrounds. But the school board says the magnet schools have failed to attract a diverse enough pool of students and test scores are not up to state academic standards, criteria that has to be met under the federal grant funding the magnet programs.

But even if the schools are demagnetized, they would not be shut down.

A full board vote on this matter is expected as early as Tuesday night.