Romero argued that most educators who have been opposed to the measure have thought more about the finances of school districts that lose students than of the benefits to families of choosing a more attractive place for learning.
“This bill is about parents, and it’s about students first,” Romero said. “It’s not about the balance sheet of a district. Nobody owns a child, and parents have the right and the responsibility to advocate for the strongest educational opportunities for their children.”
Huff, whose district covers the Walnut Unified School District — a District of Choice with 19% of its enrollment coming from other districts — argued that the law had created competition for students in his area that had forced educators to be innovative with their offerings.
The Rowland Unified School District, which had complained of losing students because of the law, had created new programs, including one for Mandarin Chinese and another that pushed laptops into classrooms, in an effort to draw students back, he said.
“They’ve been doing some great things there as a result of working to keep students there,” he said.
Now, that same urgency for competitive improvements would diminish with the expiration of the law, he said.
Aside from forcing students back to their home districts, the rule change might also cost the state up to $22 million since students may be simultaneously recorded as attendees in two districts, the senators said.