Revised policy will limit student transfers

First Posted: 7/20/2009

DOBSON The Surry County Board of Education adopted a policy restricting the transfer of county students to other school districts at its July board meeting.
Fred Johnson, board attorney, suggested a change in the wording of the policy in order to clear up what he said might be any ambiguities.
According to the revised edition, The Surry County Board of Education believes that a student should attend the school that serves his/her domicile. Exceptions will be made when required to ensure compliance with applicable state or federal law or the students parent or other legal guardian is a full time employee of the school district to which a transfer is requested.
In order to request release, the parent or legal guardian must submit a written request to the superintendent. Appeals may be made to the board of education. If a release is granted, it must be submitted for renewal each school year.
We were just clearing it up so its all the same for everybody, said Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent. Its more straightforward now. Its more restrictive, but that was what we felt like would be best.
Mr. Johnson said the other language might be hard to defend, said Earlie Coe, board chair. You can still apply.
Under the old policy, students could request a transfer to another school district for a number of reasons including convenience for the parents who may work closer to another district or if the student needed to be dropped off in another district for after-school care. Some of the requests were granted and some were denied which led to complaints by parents who were denied.
With the new policy, these transfers will be restricted specifically to cases in which the students parent or legal guardian is employed by the school district to which transfer is requested.
Students who have already been released to a different school district will not be pulled back into their home district as a result of this change. It will also not affect students who wish to attend Millennium Charter Academy as it is a separate entity completely.
According to Dr. Darrin Hartness, superintendent of the Mount Airy City school system, the city schools are not planning a change in policy at the moment.
The Board of Education sets policy, but I am not aware of any proposed changes to our student transfer policy at this time. If a family lives within the Mount Airy City School District and the parent feels that their child would be better served by attending a school outside of our district, we have released that child to the district of their choice. We try to make a decision on these requests that are based on the best interest of the individual student, he said.
There are many students who already attend Mount Airy City Schools and have been released by the county school system over the years to attend for various reasons. This change in philosophy could be attributed to a recent surge in requests from parents whose children have been attending our charter school and now desire to attend school in Mount Airy City, but live outside of our district. Some of the release requests for those students have been approved and some initially denied by Surry County Schools.
Under the policy in use by the board, it states that students may seek permision to transfer to another district if there are unusual hardships or extenuating circumstances that impact the student and show that it is in the students best interest to transfer.
We are content with our policy the way it is, said Wendy Carriker, city school board chair. We want all of our stake holders to be happy with their decisions.
The county board of education will meet this afternoon in a closed session to determine which student transfer requests to approve.

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