The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday May 28th

School Board Considers Transfer Policy Changes

One proposed change to the student transfer policy would officially involve the superintendent in the transfer appeal process; another would keep students from changing schools for athletics.

The transfer policy takes into consideration, among other things, racial balance, pupil-to-teacher ratio and students' documented medical need.

School board member Robert Bateman said the proposals are timely because there will probably be many transfer requests due to Orange County Schools' redistricting plan that will take full effect next year.

Superintendent Randy Bridges said he agreed that policy changes might be needed by next year. "This is a good time to make some adjustments," he said.

Bridges also said there might be many transfer requests because of the new high school, which is expected to open in Orange County next year, and a possible new middle school to open within the next few years.

Some board members said there were no major problems with the current policy and that the proposed changes, which would take effect next school year, are not drastic. Parker also said the school board had not been receiving complaints about the policy. "I don't know that the old policy wasn't working," he said.

The policy change, if approved, will specify that transfer appeals should go through the school principal, the director of student services, the superintendent and then the school board if necessary. The transfer policy was last changed in 1984.

But Bridges said that if a transfer request is approved by the principal, then no other officials would be involved in the process.

Factors to be considered in the appeals process include documented medical reasons, racial balance, pupil to teacher ratio and documented evidence of extreme and unusual hardship.

But Bridges said board members are not sure exactly what constitutes an extreme and unusual hardship.

"We've got to use good common sense," he said. "The board wants to make sure we look at requests and make judgments on a case-by-case basis."

Other changes would restrict students from transferring for athletic purposes and would allow students to finish the year at an Orange County school even if they move out of Orange County during the school year.

Bateman said Orange County Schools tries to maintain a racial balance in schools that corresponds to the demographics of the county. The distribution is about 75 percent white to a 25 percent minority, he said.

The policy change was introduced at the school board's March 5 meeting. It must be read before the board a second time before the policy can be officially changed, Bateman said.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. today at Pathways Elementary School.

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