I had the pleasure to join Deborah Olszta on her show, “Education Matters,” to interview Dr. Jody Underwood, chair of the Croydon School Board. Croydon created an innovative school choice program that allows parents to select from a number of public and private schools for their grade 5 – 12 student. The funding follows the child to the school of the family’s choice.
Development of this uncommon program began in 2007 and will be implemented this coming school year. Although it is a unique opportunity for younger students, a nearby district has offered a similar choice option for high school students for more than 25 years.
Dr. Underwood also talked about how the school board collaborated with surrounding public and private schools, so schools are competing for Croydon students. This is bringing down the tuition costs – a savings to the town.
Dr. Underwood discussed how other districts could adopt or modify this program. Many smaller towns have area or tuition agreements with nearby communities, and Croydon’s program is just a variation on that concept. This could be a model for other districts that wish to offer more school choice to their students while bringing down costs.
This is a great example of local control and of a school board being responsive to the needs of their students.