WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Starting next fall, students in kindergarten through 12th grade can go to any school in Kansas, even if they do not live in the district.
Wichita School Board Member Stan Reeser believes the change opens doors for students across Kansas.
“I think most families today still say what is the best school district, what is the best program, where my child can succeed,” said Reeser.
He believes Wichita will be a coveted school district for its programs, including college credit, “IB,” and AP classes. They also offer special education programs not seen in other districts. Reeser says the challenge is making sure they have enough staff.
“Not so much the building size or the classroom size, but do we have the staff to expand the program,” said Reeser.
Leah Fliter, from the Kansas Association of School Board, says the state per-pupil funding will go to the school where the student attends.
“If you have a kid that lives in Northeast Wichita, but they are going to school in Maize or Andover, if they’re in the Maize school building, at the desk, on September 20th, they get counted for Maize funding purposes, so yes it’s an issue that you’re paying taxes in one district but going to another district,” said Fliter.
Goodland School Board Member Brad Bergsma says rural districts like his have been facing a decline in students and have offered open enrollment for years.
“The constant challenge of western Kansas is to recruit businesses, keep some of our kids’ local areas, we’ve kind of had a migration of our kids to urban or suburban areas,” said Bergsma.
Other rural districts, closer to larger communities, say the law could cause them to lose even more students.