Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Board of Education, meeting recently in regular session, voted to have a limited Schools of Choice program for the 2023-24 school year.

Schools of Choice is a program in which students from other districts may enroll in the neighboring school district of their choice, as long as it’s in the same intermediate school district as the one where they reside, or a contiguous one.

Most school districts in Michigan, including Brighton, receive $9,150 in per-pupil state funding. As a result of the SOC program, the Brighton Area Schools will receive the full per-pupil state aid that otherwise would go to the student’s home district. The 1,019 Schools of Choice students enrolled in Brighton in 2022 comprised about 17% of the district's total enrollment. The fall 2022 head count showed 5,881 students enrolled in Brighton.

After Superintendent Matt Outlaw informed the board of the amount of available classroom space in district buildings, the board voted unanimously to continue the Schools of Choice program for next year. This includes unlimited Schools of Choice in kindergarten, also 5th through 11th grade, and at The Bridge Alternative High School. Based on less additional classroom space, a limited Schools of Choice program will be offered in junior kindergarten, grades 1-4 and grade 12.

Supt. Outlaw said the district continues to work on lowering class sizes. He said that last year class sizes were high at Maltby Intermediate School, and efforts were made to lower it from the 30’s to the upper 20’s per classroom. Outlaw said an indication that the current class sizes are working is that Brighton was “one of the only school districts in the state that (improved on) test scores during the pandemic.”

At the elementary level, preference will be given in the 2023-24 school year to students who have a sibling currently attending a Brighton elementary school. Whether the district will allow the placement of students in J-K (junior kindergarten) in the coming year will depend on enrollment figures as registration continues to progress throughout the summer.