Childcare will no longer be accepted as a reason for students to transfer elementary schools at North Putnam, school officials say.
A new school policy stipulates when transfers can and cannot take place, and administrators say the school will no longer accept the location of childcare for students as a valid reason to change elementary schools.
Assistant Supt. Kevin Emsweller told the BannerGraphic the school doesn't want to give preferential treatment to one childcare center over another.
During the past year, North Putnam has seen an increase in parents wishing to move their students to a North Putnam elementary school outside of their area, he said.
"There were a number of them coming to the (school board) making requests to transfer," he said. "Well, we think both of our elementary schools are excellent schools. We don't consider Bainbridge better than Roachdale or Roachdale better than Bainbridge. They both provide outstanding educational opportunities for students."
Rather than continue to let parents ask permission from the school board for transfers, board members decided to form a policy and allow building principals to decide if students can attend the requested school, Emsweller explained.
Under the new policy, valid reasons for accepting a transfer include if a move into the requested school area is pending and can be documented, if the student will be in the fifth grade, and has spent all of their previous years at the requested elementary and if the attendance at the requested school is in the best interest of the student.
The administrator explained "the best interest of the student" could mean that the child had experienced trouble with other students at his or her home school and that the child's parents would want a new start for their student.
"This really happens more at the high school level though," Emsweller said.
Even if parents have a valid reason for requesting a transfer, the requested building still has to be able to provide certain facilities for students.
The Assistant Supt. explained, the school has to have adequate space in the grade to accommodate a transfer student and has to have any needed special services such as learning disability classes.
Also, a transfer cannot increase the teacher-student ratio above the following level:
grades kindergarten and 1, 18:1; grades 2 and 3, 20:1 and grades 4 and 5, 24:1.
With an instructional assistant as well as a teacher in the classrooms, teacher-student ratios are 24:1.33 for grades kindergarten and 1 and 27:1.33 for grades 2 and 3. Instructional assistants are not used in grades 4 and 5.
Any parent wishing to make a transfer request for their child may do so by picking up an application form at the student's home school or at the North Putnam Community School Corporation Administration Office in Bainbridge. Forms must be turned in by the end of school registration.
No dates have been set for registration, but it will take place in early August.
After requests have been made, principals will discuss the potential transfers and then make a decision before the start of the 2006-2007 school year.
"This is a better way to take control of it," Emsweller said of the transfer policy. "Before, (Supt. Murray Pride) would have to go to each school and see if there was room for the transfers. This gets him and the board out of it and lets the principals work together to look at whether a transfer is warranted."