City schools say ‘no more transfers’

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2002

The Brookhaven School District board voted to change itstransfer policy so that no new transfers would be allowed after itsTuesday decision.

“I think it’s time for us to really concentrate on the besteducation for our students. In order to do that it’s going torequire some rethinking on our transfer policy,” said board memberDan Brown Jr., who proposed the policy change.

Brown made a motion to have no exceptions to a new policy thatwould not allow new transfers to be granted for those living in theBrookhaven School District but wishing to attend school in anotherdistrict.

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Currently there are 140 students transferring out of thedistrict, with 23 of those being teachers’ children. Those studentswill be allowed to continue transferring out of district, if theywish, until their graduation.

“I think the board spent a lot of time wrestling with what wasthe best decision,” said board secretary Dr. Prentiss Smith, whogave a second to the motion. “It’s hard to find a reason for astudent to leave this school district.”

Smith pointed out two reasons why he supported the new policy.The first involved the $3,500 per student that the district loseswhen a student transfers out.

“That’s not fair to our taxpayers,” he said.

His second reason was that an overwhelming majority of thetransfers were the same race. Four of the 140 current transfers areblack, while all the rest are white students.

“I think that doesn’t reflect our district’s makeup,” saidSmith.

Gwendolyn Sartin, vice-chairman of the board, supported thepolicy when it came to vote. The policy was passed, but boardchairman Amy Valentine and member Carl Aycock voted against it,finding flaws in the policy.

“I think our policy falls a little bit short,” said Aycock,mentioning that it would “break up some families” by not allowingtransfers for siblings who are not yet school age.

Valentine agreed with Aycock’s opposition, saying she was “notcomfortable with that” and would not vote for it unless it allowedfor families to continue sending all of their children to the samedistrict.

Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds mentioned that new transfers hadnot been issued in two years. The only exception he remembered waswhen some students were “grandfathered in” this year following someconfusion about district lines.

Several families along Zetus Road thought for years that theywere living in the Lincoln County School District, but it wasbrought to their attention earlier this year that they wereactually in the Brookhaven Separate School District.

“When you expand into the county with a separate schooldistrict, it makes it more difficult,” said Aycock.

Following the vote on the new policy, Smith made a statement toclarify that the policy would not affect those students wishing tocome into the Brookhaven School District.

“We will gladly accept all students into our district at alltimes. This in no way is intended to defer students from cominginto the district,” he said.

After routine business and a presentation by the BrookhavenTechnical Center, the board closed the meeting with an executivesession on a student matter.