The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education voted 7-0 to approve a proposal to open Dexter High School as a School of Choice at its meeting on Monday.
The proposal allows the district to apply for additional state funding through the Legislature's "Best Practice" initiative for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Dexter already meets six of the seven best practices, however to receive the funding — $52 per student, or roughly $180,000 — the district has to meet seven of the requirements.
According to Superintendent Mary Marshall, Dexter would need to either become a School of Choice or meet increased seat time for physical education or health education.
"It puts us in a tough situation," she said before recommending that the board provide enrollment for up to five sophomore students who plan to register as International Baccalaureate diploma candidates in the 2014-2015 school year.
"The purpose of bringing students in 10th grade is to give students the opportunity to assure their course offerings are aligned to meet the Michigan Merit Curriculum requirements and foundational courses needed to be in the full diploma program," Marshall said.
Students who enroll under the School of Choice option would be required to enroll in and complete courses in a pre-International Baccalaureate program and demonstrate progress toward completing the full diploma program in order to remain eligible to remain in Dexter, according to information provided to the Dexter Board of Education.
Board President Larry Cobler said some parents have expressed concern about allowing students from outside the district to enroll at the high school.
"It shouldn't be an issue," he said. "We talk about globalization but at the same time we want to be isolationists, which doesn't make sense.
"From a philosophical standpoint, personally I think Dexter can be the International Baccalaureate School of Choice for the western side of the county. The school boarders need to go away at some point."
Trustee Julie Schumaker said she is leery of allowing students from outside the district enroll in high school classes.
"I support the limited School of Choice recommendation to meet the Best Practices standards. IB is more attractive than enrolling students at the kindergarten level, however I would be cautious about throwing the door wide open. (School of Choice) is certainly warranted in this situation," she said.
Vice President Michael Wendorf said allowing students to enroll in the IB program outside of the district benefits Dexter's short-term and long-term goals.
"We need to promote our school district as viable and vibrant," he said. "By providing more science and math options to more students, we can potentially position Dexter as a district that is known for its calibur of achievement beyond that which we're already known for."
Marshall said even if students do not enroll in the district this year, by offering the School of Choice option, the district will still be eligible for state funds.
Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year, Marshall is recommending that the School of Choice option continue and remain available for students entering their sophomore year in high school.