Neighborhood preference will now rank fifth on a list of preferences for school choice in Natrona County School District.

Listen here,

The Natrona County School Board elected, Monday, to add "neighborhood schools" to preferences used in determining how school selections are awarded to families during open enrollment.

"Neighborhood is defined as the school closest to the residence in which the child lives. So in kindergarten and sixth grade we added that as the fifth preference down the list."

Natrona County Superintendent Joel Dvorak says neighborhood schools would rank  behind students already attending and their siblings who want to attend, children of district staff, and students on the waiting list.

Dvorak says they hope the action stabilizes the districts 'Schools of Choice' system as they move forward with construction on four new elementary schools.

Also coloring the action Monday, is what Dvorak calls, the unintended consequence of the open enrollment model, where he says the perception exists that you can change schools whenever you want. He says that's not the case and minimizing transition is important for a student's academic success.

"Just because someone might be mad at a teacher or a principle may not be as compelling as the stability of staying in the same school that they're going to, which is in their best educational interest."

Included in the amendment is an intention to track the change for its impact and to make no more changes for the next three years.

The new preference will apply to the upcoming open enrollment in January