Permissible reasons for attendance area transfers in the Warren County School District are now more narrow than they used to be, but not as narrow as the administration originally proposed.
Under the original proposal, which was brought to the board in May, attendance area transfers were to only be permitted when a student's legal residence changes and that student wants to remain in his or her school for the duration of the current academic year, or when specifically called for in a student's Individualized Education Plan.
Several other reasons, such as to take a class in a prescribed course of study, transfer for disciplinary, physical or psychological concerns, or a child "whose parent or guardian shows an extreme hardship in providing child care" would no longer have been permissible.
But, on second reading before final approval in an 8-1 vote on Monday, the policy was somewhat expanded.
"Recognizing that the transfer of students can complicate staffing decisions, create imbalances in class size, generate additional costs, and other inequities and difficulties, the Superintendent is directed to limit discretionary transfers to situations in which transfer is the only viable option to avoid significant detriment to the educational well-being of a student" in two distinct conditions, according to the final policy. Bringing back two reasons from the original policy, students facing disciplinary issues or a child with a "physical and/or psychological condition" are those two conditions.
The final draft also stipulates who has the authority to approve each of the kinds of transfers.
Transfers where a student is permitted to complete a school year after a move, those that are IEP-driven and transfers to and from other districts will be at the discretion of the superintendent. Those regarding physical and psychological issues will need to be approved by the superintendent and the school board.
Students are still permitted to take courses at another school if not available at their home school but, instead of transferring, the student will remain a student enrolled at their home school.
Acting Superintendent Amy Stewart said that this is the first piece of the puzzle that will seek to develop firm attendance area boundaries. She explained there are students who live in "gray areas," such as North Warren, Jackson Run Road, the Red Oak Campground and across the Glade Bridge, where buses go to two different schools, will subsequently be clarified.
She explained that having firm boundaries and limiting transfers will help in planning, particularly from a staffing perspective, as administration will have a more accurate sense of school attendance numbers and how they will vary from year to year.
Those families who have already received "life-time" transfers will be grandfathered into the new policy and not subject to the new provisions.