Rowland Unified fights Districts of Choice legislation

Robert F. Hidalgo, President

of the Rowland Unified School District, sent in an interesting letter to the editor about Districts of Choice. We also understand that Superintendent Maria Ott has traveled to Sacramento twice to testify about matter.

“As public school district board members, we
would like to share additional information that was not included in
your “Choice for Public Schools” editorial (Our View, May 26).

“Educators also believe in choices for parents and students.
That is why there are already numerous options for parental choice that
exist including interdistrict permit programs, charter schools, choice
among district of residence schools, and federal No Child Left Behind
and related state laws. The District of Choice legislation that is due
to sunset in July is an outdated policy that is no longer relevant.

“The California Department of Education conducted an
evaluation of the Districts of Choice Program and concluded that given
that only 3.9 percent of the 100 surveyed districts indicated an active
participation in the District of Choice program, “it seems to be a
small program with very limited impact. The CDE sees no significant
negative consequences to the program’s lapse as scheduled for July 1,

“In fact, the District of Choice provisions offer little
state oversight, no financial relief for districts impacted by the
program, lack of access for all families and would have unintentional
consequences to schools across the state. Although the provisions in
the law are designed to ensure that special education, bilingual, or
other students with special needs are not discriminated against because
of the costs associated with educating these students, there is not
oversight to ensure that students are selected through a random and
unbiased process as specified in the law. Record-keeping obligations
for the district of choice are surprisingly minimal and entirely

“The District of Choice statutes were scheduled to sunset in
July. It is time to allow this poorly monitored legislation to come off
the books.”

Robert F. Hidalgo


Rowland Unified School District

Tom Selinske


Pasadena Unified School District