Board may tighten transfer policy

Transferring from one school in the Warren County School District to another is likely to become much more restrictive.

Under current policy, there are eight specific reasons that permit attendance area transfers.

If a draft policy, forwarded to the board for action by the Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Committee last week, is enacted, that number will be reduced to two.

Controversy regarding valedictorian status at Warren Area High School “is what put this policy on the list to be reviewed,” said Acting Superintendent Amy Stewart.

Under the new policy, attendance area transfers will 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 academic year or when specifically called for in a student’s Individualized Education Plan.

Several other reasons, such as to take a course 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 be permissible under this proposal.

“The policy has allowed for a lot of flexibility with regard to transfers,” Stewart said. “Our student enrollment drives our staffing, so the conditions under which transfers are permitted are important to review.”

She said students will still be permitted to take courses at other schools if unavailable at their home school, but the student will remain enrolled at his or her home school in such a situation.

Additionally, the policy outlines the procedure for inter-district transfers and also notes that “transportation for a student with an approved attendance area transfer will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.”

Director of Pupil Services Patricia Hawley-Horner said the policy revision is an “effort to reduce confusion regarding what the rationale (for) an attendance area transfer (is).”

“(I) very much like the direction this is going,” Board President Arthur Stewart said. “(It) helps in cost containment (and provides) clarity of something that is quite muddy.”

He proposed changes to a couple of the items. Instead of striking physical, psychological and disciplinary concerns completely, he said such authority could be given to the superintendent to determine what is in the “well-being of the student.” He also said the transportation clause might conflict with special education needs. “I don’t think that will work in all situations,” he said.

Board member Mary Anne Paris said the transportation issue could be resolved by crafting the policy to include transportation as required by state law.