District designated schools for the 2020-2021 school year are all elementary schools except South, Creekside Middle School, and Fairfield High School. Designated schools met one (1) of six (6) conditions: Performance; Graduation; Lowest 10% on Performance Index; Literacy; District Performance; and Academic Distress. Fairfield's elementary schools (except South) are designated under the literacy condition. Creekside and the high school are designated under the performance condition.
With these designations, students enrolled in the schools listed above are eligible to apply for scholarships to attend private schools. If approved students in grades K-8 can receive $4,650, and students in grades 9-12 can receive $6,000. They must first be accepted into the private school before being considered for the scholarship.
For every student who accepts a scholarship, the state will reduce the amount of funding the home district receives to account for the number of scholarships awarded.
Treasurer Nancy Lane said it is difficult to estimate the number of students who will apply for the EdChoice Scholarship Program. She is basing her estimates on the number of students in grades K-10 the district currently transports to private schools.
Superintendent Billy Smith called the expansion of the EdChoice Scholarship Program "the beginning of the end for public education if something doesn't change." The expansion occurred with no public discussion or input from school leaders. "I truly believe that public education as we know it is at stake," Mr. Smith said.
Mr. Smith emphasized that the concern expressed by public school leaders is not an attack against private schools. He wants parents to be informed about the impact this change will have on the district.
The district will be releasing information about the impact of the expansion and will encourage parents and the community to contact state legislators. To view the complete presentation, please select the pdf listed at the bottom of this page.