School Choice

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When it comes to school choice, soon Rockford students may have no choice as to which school they attend. Currently they submit their top three choices to the district, then administrators decide where they are assigned.

"I think it's a good system because kids get to go to what schools they want to and they get a chance to be with their friends and see people from all over the city instead of just their neighborhood," Brittany Dobbins, a Guilford High School student, said.

But that's not the case for everyone. Many students don't even get their third ranked choice of schools.

"A little over 70 percent of students in the district have no priority under current board policy to any middle or high school. They're basically randomly assigned," said Dr. Dennis Thompson, Rockford School District Superintendent.

"They should consider that people do get their choices. I got my first choice," Dobbins said.

Many parents want the system changed. They're tired of sending their kids on 45 minute bus rides across town every school day.

"It needs to be changed because kids should be located in the area where they're closer to home," Rhonda Griffin, a concerned parent, said.

Students may have to attend their neighborhood schools. A federal grant that pays for 70 extra buses in the Rockford School District will run out in a year. It would cost local taxpayers at least an extra million dollars to maintain the current choice system after the grant expires.