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Loyd Star student transfers denied — Jefferson County may refuse others

A handful of Loyd Star students legally crossing county lines to attend school may be sent back where they came from this fall.

The Jefferson County School Board last month denied a routine request for release to transfer from one of the handful of families in or near the Union Church area in Jefferson County who cross into Lincoln County to attend Loyd Star Attendance Center, and then sent letters to other transferring families saying their annual requests would be shot down, too. Jefferson County School District Superintendent Vincent Turner said the board is leaning toward blanket denials for all transfer families who leave Jefferson County to attend school in Franklin and Lincoln counties due to funding concerns.

“We’re losing money with those students leaving the district,” he said. “With our funding and the cuts coming every year, and then we lose those students, that all adds up.”

Turner said his district is facing a $700,000 funding cut next year. Jefferson County is small and impoverished — almost 40 percent of population of just 7,700 residents falls below the poverty line. The district’s expected allocation from the Mississippi Adequate Education Program is $7.1 million — far below the expected contributions to Brookhaven ($14.1 million) and Lincoln County ($16.4 million).

Turner said he’s working with the board and its attorney to make sure automatic denials of release requests are not illegal.

“We don’t want to deprive any child of an education and where they need to be,” he said.

Loyd Star Principal Robin Case said there are approximately 10 families who attend Loyd Star from Jefferson County. In order to cross county lines, students must receive annual approval from both school boards, and Lincoln County charges a $600 tuition fee to take on those transfers.

Case said the students who transfer into Loyd Star have grown up at the school — two are senior students who have attended the school all their lives.

“These aren’t new kids trying to get in. They’ve been in place for a long time,” she said. “I’m kind of confused — it seems to me like they would have grandfathered in those already here and just not allowed any new transfers. But they have the authority to say, ‘no.’ I have parents who are very concerned about this.”

Lincoln County Superintendent Mickey Myers said he would work with the Jefferson County board to try and get current Loyd Star transfer students grandfathered in.

“It’s disruptive to the child’s education process,” he said of the rule change.