East Bridgewater

Board to try school choice again

The East Bridgewater School Committee has voted 4-2 to reenter the state school choice program for the 2014-15 school year. Chairman George McCabe and members Beth Hayes, Gordon McKinnon, and Keith Boyle approved, while vice chairwoman Jennifer Kitchenham and member Heather Graham voted no after a public hearing held on the issue on Jan. 30. The district had school choice for four years before opting out for this school year. The board has opened up 10 slots in each of six grades — 7 to 12 — at the new East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High. If all slots are filled, it could mean as much as $300,000 in new Chapter 70 money coming into the district for the next school year, money that could be counted on when setting next year’s school budget at Town Meeting. Superintendent of Schools John Moretti told members that reentering the program was made less risky by a new state law that absolves districts involved in school choice of having to pay for an out-of-district placement for an arriving student if one is needed. He also told members no additional staff would have to be hired. Students will be enrolled on a first-come basis, unless there are more applications than slots, which would require a lottery.