The policy change on the assignment of students to attendance area pushed through during the Aug. 11 meeting of the Warren County School District's board of directors brought some fiery criticism by members of the families affected.
But, according to Superintendent Dr. William Clark, his recommendation would have been the same regardless.
A letter provided to the Times Observer by one of the affected families, from Clark and dated Aug. 13, explains the change in policy from the district's perspective.
"At its meeting held last night (August 11) the Board approved a revision to Policy 10102 for the purpose of clarifying whether 'residence' or 'domicile/legal residence' would be the determining factor relative to the school to which is particular student is assigned. The previous policy used inconsistent terminology by using the term 'resides' in one section, but then using the term 'legal residence' in another portion of the policy. A majority of the Board indicated that its intent is, and has been, to use 'domicile/legal residence' as the determining factor for school assignments within the District (which is consistent with the administration's recommendation in this regard), and approved the recommended revisions to clarify this intent and to remedy inconsistent terminology in the Policy."
Kim Angove, one of the parents affected, argued that when the policy change was made, parents that were affected should have been notified so as to be able to attend the meeting.
"We never applied for a transfer," she said. "Students came in from outside of the school district."
"One (school) accepted it, the other rejected it," she added. "My child was enrolled."
Angove said that she was "most upset by the lack of democracy" and said that the policy change was an "example of dictatorship."
Scott Angove approached the issue in a different way arguing that the district considered itself a county-wide district in sending all autistic and emotional support students to Youngsville but "can take away parent choice by saying it is not a county-wide district" on the transfer policy.
David Brook, a member of the other family affected by the change, said that he owns a business in Warren at "a very convenient location" and alleged that Clark told him "'If I have to do it for you, I'm going to have to do it for others.'"
"We went through the process (of enrolling in the central attendance area)," he said, "(and) never thought we did something we shouldn't do to get our kids to the schools where we want them to be.
"It's not the decision we made for our family and it is being made for us."
Both families believed their children were enrolled in the central attendance area through secondary addresses only to find out their children have been reassigned to the northern area the location of their primary residences.
"If for some instance these two families are being harmed (by the policy change) and not grandfathering in, (and) had their application already in the system" board Vice President Donna Zariczny said, "was the vote at the time to change enrollment? I was told 'no' (and that the request) had already been denied (and) would not have affected the decision.
"Had we not passed that policy, what would the outcome have been?" Zariczny asked.
"The recommendation before and after would have been the same," Clark said.
"That's the same ambiguity I had about it," said board member Marcy Morgan. "My thought was, I didn't mind making the clarification (but it) should have been at that date. Even if our intent was not in there, people could read the policy and have certain expectations whether we intended or not."
Zariczny raised the more pressing point about informing these families where their students would be attending.
Clark said the "district buildings will try to get that clarified."