JACKSONVILLE — The out-of-district attendance policy at Jacksonville schools, unchanged since 1995, is undergoing revisions that could mean increasing tuition costs next school year for students enrolled in the system who live outside the city limits.
Unlike other school systems in the county, Jacksonville and Piedmont city schools have defacto unitary desegregation status, which means they are not restricted from allowing nonresidents to attend their schools.
Children of Jacksonville State University faculty have long been considered for admission, as well as the children of business owners in the city.
For other nonresidents, an annual tuition charge of $350 per student, and $200 for each additional student, is applied.
“From outside (the district) you can pick and choose. You can use any criteria except for race or gender,” explained Jacksonville Schools Superintendent Eric Mackey.
While the appeal of attending the city’s schools is a strong incentive for many people to move to Jacksonville, board members say further loosening of enrollment options would risk loss of the system’s identity.
“I’m not in favor of just letting anybody who wants to come to Jacksonville,” said Sue Jones, vice president of the Jacksonville board of education. Jones said she favors making allowance on a case-by-case basis.
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