Opting illusion: Fewer Clark students opt out

As a result of poor test scores, for the second year in a row Clark Elementary School students have been able to leave their neighborhood school and attend another in the city. But new principal James Pierce says contrary to one media report, fewer students left the old brick schoolhouse on Monticello Avenue this year than last.

Of the original 29 students who opted out in the 2004-05 school year, five were fourth graders who are now at Walker Upper Elementary, says Pierce. Six children moved out of the neighborhood, leaving 18 of the original "opt-out" group. The parents of six new students also chose to send their children to an alternate city school, says Pierce, bringing the total number of children opting out of Clark in 2005-06 to 24.

And there's other good news at Clark, says Pierce. For the first time, the school has full state accreditation, and Pierce says he's "very optimistic" about the school's federal Annual Yearly Progress status, which is currently on appeal. An answer is expected by early October.