Today is an important day for families interested in Douglas County School District (DCSD)’s brand new, groundbreaking Choice Scholarship Program. Student applications are now available. Completed forms — available either online or as a hard copy to download and print — will be accepted up through next Thursday, May 12, at 5 PM.
Events are moving rather quickly, as the district prepares to have up to 500 funded slots available for students to attend one of 31 (potential) partner private schools in 2011-12. Students must be Douglas County residents and currently attend a DCSD school since at least last August. If more than 500 eligible students apply, the district will hold a lottery on Monday, May 16, and inform winners of the $4,575 choice scholarships by the end of that week.
Initially, it looked like there were either 27 or 28 private schools that had applied to be partners in the program. The updated final list of applicants shows 31 schools, including 8 non-religious schools. In any case, it’s encouraging to see such broad interest from schools seeking to participate in the program.
The speed of the process and the large volume of private school applicants has a lot to do with explaining why no official partner schools have yet been verified — though the list had been scheduled to be “posted today on the district website.” DCSD assistant superintendent Dr. Christian Cutter explained in an email this afternoon to the Education Policy Center’s Ben DeGrow:
We received 30 packets of information from various private schools wanting to partner with Douglas County. The conditions of eligibility are not lengthy, but are very involved. For example, reviewing 3 years of audited financial records is a daunting process.
This has put our time-line for making agreements with private schools behind. We have no identified partners at this time.
In the meantime, DCSD did not want to delay the student application process. So if your family or someone you know is eligible and interested in participating, you have the next 10 days to sign up to seek out a preferred private education option… and maybe be part of school choice history.