New rules has been proposed that may make it easier for “emotionally or physically fragile” Iowa students to enroll in an online school.
The Clayton Ridge Community School District in northeast Iowa and the CAM Community School District in southwest Iowa are the two, for-profit, online academies available to Iowa’s public school students. Phil Wise of the Iowa Department of Education says under current rules, no Iowa school district has to allow more than one percent of its total student population to enroll in CAM or Clayton Ridge, but the new rule would change that.
“A district can, if it chooses to, exceed the one percent cap if the district determines that it’s in the best educational interest of an emotionally or physically fragile student,” Wise says.
Senior leadership in the Iowa Department of Education made the proposal “because we had heard, not many, but we had heard of instances where a school superintendent wanted to be able to grant open enrollment, but could not,” Wise says.
The other proposed change would force local school districts to let a sibling enroll in one of Iowa’s online schools if a sister or brother is already enrolled in one of these two virtual academies.
“In that case and only in that case is there an entitlement to that open enrollment,” Wise says.
There’s a limitation on the total number of students statewide who can enroll in these two online schools. For the last school year, that limit was 865 students. Only 730 students were enrolled in the two online academies last year, however. A public hearing on the proposed enrollment changes will be held on September 22, from 9 to 10 .m., in the Grimes State Office Building in Des Moines. A legislative committee reviewed the proposed policy changes this morning.