Wednesday, August 26, 2009

S.B. School Districts nixes interdistrict transfers


August 26, 2009 7:30 AM

There will be exceptions, but the new policy starts in 2010-11 school year The Santa Barbara School Districts will no longer accept interdistrict transfer students, beginning in the 2010-11 school year.

The School Board voted Tuesday night to approve policy that, due to "fiscal considerations," no interdistrict transfers will be permitted except in five specific situations.

These exception cases include students who are children of district employees; students who complete eleventh grade in a Santa Barbara Secondary District school during the current school year; students who are enrolled during the current school year in a high school academy; students who qualify for and are approved on the basis of extraordinary hardship; and tenth grade students who participate in a high school interscholastic sports program during the current school year so that they can compete in the same sport at the varsity level, only where a transfer to the district of residency would result in loss of eligibility to compete in that sport at the varsity level under California Interscholastic Federation rules; and

Public comment on the matter included two fathers, both asking that the policy be reconsidered.

"We're 35 minutes from Dos Pueblos," said Bruce Hamill, whose 12th grade daughter attends the high school and will not be affected by the policy, but whose ninth grade son attends San Marcos High School and will be affected. "I feel like you're leaving the rural students out of the equation."

"How are you going to explain to students who are sophomores this year and have to take the SAT and ACT next year?" he asked.

The board was divided on the issue. It passed, but members Dr. Robert Noel and Edward Heron voted against it.

"My option would be to grandfather the kids in starting with ninth graders next year," said Dr. Noel.

Mr. Heron agreed.

"I feel the same way as Dr. Noel," he said. "I don't see how you can tell people with heart-wrenching stories, 'you're not included.' "

Mr. Heron went so far as to make a motion to delete the exemptions for children in sports and high school academies. Both motions failed 3-2, with Dr. Noel siding with Mr. Heron.

The board also introduced the new district special education director, who comes at a time when special education is a tumultuous topic in the district, after seven directors have left in eight years.

Tom Guajardo said he is excited for his position in the district.

"I just really appreciate the welcome," he said. "As I get around and talk to people ... I'm amazed at the great resources that we have."

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