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Board creates official school enrollment policy

At its June 10 meeting, the Washington County School Board adopted an official board policy on whether students outside a district will be allowed to attend closed enrollment schools.
Over the past few months, the board has seen several parents come before them to ask that their children be allowed to attend a restricted enrollment school, which are currently Lamar, Gray, Ridgeview and Grandview.
Restricted enrollment means the classrooms are at capacity and students outside the school’s district cannot attend.
The board has said in the past that special consideration would be given to school system employees, but so far, it has also voted to allow students into closed enrollment schools because of the parents’ transportation issues or children’s personal issues. Parents can come before the board for special consideration when the school administration’s criteria prohibits the change of schools.
Criteria for admittance to a closed enrollment school are: the student lives within the school boundary with a legal guardian, the legal guardian works inside the school building, special education or IEP placement, the family is moving to a home within the boundary, or building a home within the boundary. Some of those criteria require written proof.
When the board has voted to allow students to go to closed enrollment schools, some members have stated that by doing so, the board is setting a precedent of allowing any student to enroll.
At the most recent meeting, the policy committee suggested taking up the criteria the school system administration uses and making it official board policy.

In the future, if the board wanted to override the decision and allow a student to enroll, they would first have to vote to waive the policy, and then vote to allow the student in.

“You do know the result once you begin waiving policies,” said Director of Schools Ron Dykes.

“We’re going to have to get tighter,” said board member Eric Barnes. “I’m afraid some precedents have already been set.”

Dallas Hardin moved to waive the policy’s first reading, and go straight to the second and final reading, which would make the policy effective immediately after the vote.

The school administration committee would still determine the cases, but parents who needed an exception would have to come before the board and ask that the policy be waived for their child.

The motion passed 7-1, with Clarence Mabe voting no. After the vote, Keith Ervin changed his vote to no.