School Committee approves hardship exception for student

Athol High School

Athol High School FILE PHOTO BY GREG VINE

By MAX BOWEN

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 02-21-2024 5:55 PM

Modified: 02-26-2024 2:53 PM


ATHOL—The Athol Royalston Regional School District’s School Committee has approved a hardship exception to the enrollment policy for a student whose family moved out of the town, allowing them to remain in the school system through the end of the year.

Should the student wish to remain in ARRSD following the end of this school year, they would need to apply for School Choice. The alternative would be to transfer to the district where they reside.  School Choice gets voted on every year, according to ARRSD Superintendent Matthew Ehrenworth. It is opened and the number of seats available, if any, are announced. It closes for the year in October, and the district will not accept any more new students.

Athol High School Principal David King went before the committee at its meeting on Feb. 14 to make the request.

“This is just for those whose families have moved out of town,” he said.

According to the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, School Choice allows families to enroll their children in schools in communities other than the city or town in which they reside. Tuition is paid by the sending district to the receiving district. Districts may elect not to enroll School Choice students if no space is available.

During the meeting the question was raised as to whether this would require re-opening the district to School Choice, resulting in a brief tabling of the discussion.

Later in the meeting, school district attorney Fred Dupere said the committee had two options—to reopen School Choice to anyone who wishes to enroll, or to vote on a hardship exception, allowing just those whose families have moved out of the district to remain through the end of the school year. The committee approved a motion to allow the hardship exception, with none voting against.

Max Bowen ca n be reached at mbowen@recorder.com or at 413-930-4074.

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