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FUHSD revises inter-district transfer process

The Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) Board of Trustees has approved an amendment to a regulation that may make it more difficult for students interested in transferring to another school district to do so.

The problem arose during a board meeting on Feb. 8, when a group of parents raised concern after their children were denied a second year of inter-district transfer.

During the meeting, the FUHSD board considered the cases, as well as the welfare of the district, and “indicated an interest in revising the policy/regulation such that those students who currently are on approved inter-district transfers could remain so if they stay in the same program for which the transfer was requested,” according to the board meeting agenda.

At the March 2 board meeting, the FUHSD board of trustees agreed to make amends to the current inter-district attendance agreement so that the district would not be negatively affected by a high number of transfers during the school year.

The FUHSD loses an estimated $5,759.38 per student for their average daily attendance (ADA) if said student chose to go to school in another district, which has “broad ramifications” on the district’s budget and ability to offer a wide array of courses, said Mitchell.

According to the inter-district attendance agreement, due to the number of FUHSD students requesting transfers to non-district schools, students who live in the district’s attendance area will not be automatically granted transfers to other districts. Approval would depend on reasons given, and whether or not they can be validated.

Inter-district attendance is approved to meet a child’s special mental or physical health needs as certified by a physician, School Attendance Review Board (SARB), social services agency, school psychologist or other appropriate school personnel; or when the student has a sibling attending school in the receiving district to avoid splitting the family’s attendance for the 2009-2010 school year only.

According to FUHSD superintendent Dale Mitchell, consideration of special circumstances will be given, in all cases, by the superintendent who grants or denies approval.

“Specific programs or course offerings are not considered special circumstances,” said Mitchell. “This is not new in how the agreement is applied. I suspect that parents whose students are not currently in inter-district programs are not going to be happy, and will probably lobby to get the board to change its mind.”

With the new amendments to the agreement, all students approved for inter-district transfers during the 2009-2010 year will be able to continue and complete their education at the school and for the program identified in the currently approved agreement, and may stay with the school to graduate with their class.

However, if the students want to transfer to a different program, they will be denied, said Mitchell. Priority for inter-district from students will be limited to non-residential students who have already been on a FUHSD transfer.

If a student’s inter-district transfer is denied by the assistant superintendent, the parents or guardians of the student may appeal the decision before the superintendent within five days of the denial for review. The superintendent’s decision will be final, only to be appealed before the San Diego County Office of Education.

“Otherwise we wouldn’t have enough students to offer the wide variety of courses,” explained Mitchell. “Students within our district can benefit from what the district is able to offer.”

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