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Trustees lay out rules for out-of-zone school enrollment

SoVaNow.com / January 17, 2013
Halifax County School trustees on Monday night approved guidelines and procedures for parents who want their children to attend out-of-zone schools.

With kindergarten registration set to begin on Feb. 2, the county school division already has received two requests for students to enroll in schools located outside their regular attendance zones, Testing Coordinator Nancy Zirkle told trustees.

Parents may apply for out-of-zone slots through Friday, May 3, but they will not know until the start of school whether the applications will be approved.

“It all depends on the numbers and the size of the class that the out-of-zone student will attend,” Zirkle explained. She noted that if the student’s enrollment means another teacher must be added to a school’s staff, then the request becomes problematic.

Zirkle added that applications for out-of-zone attendance must be filed annually. “Just because a student is enrolled in an out-of-zone school this year, he or she is not automatically guaranteed a spot at that school for the coming years,” she said.

In order to apply for out-of-zone attendance, parents must complete an application and return it to the child’s home school in the zone where the student lives. The home school principal will then send it over to the principal of the school where the student wishes to attend for consideration. All forms are then turned into the Central Office, where Zirkle and her staff will assemble all the data and await the opening day of school to decide which applications will be approved.

The procedure calls for students whose parents are school system employees to be given priority in the approval process. Zirkle noted that transportation for out-of-zone students is not provided unless the baby sitter to whom they are going after school lives in the requested attendance zone.

Zirkle said that to her knowledge, all requests for out-of-zone attendance have been approved during the current year. However, with some 200 students attending out-of-zone schools, at least one new teacher had to be added at Scottsburg Elementary this year to handle the class load.

Another teacher was hired at Sinai after transfers were added, but the class size was not impacted by the additions. Rather, the hiring was prompted by federal guidelines based on household income which mandates a lower pupil/teacher ratio as levels of poverty increase.

In other action Monday, the School Board approved a revision to the Reduction in Work Force Policy to allow a teacher to request a review of an unacceptable rating which may surface in an evaluation. The review process will follow school policy, going to the next in charge and on up the line until the teacher is satisfied with the review.

The RIF policy states that staff reductions first come from teachers of classes that must be reduced who are not fully certified or properly endorsed in that subject or grade.

The next reductions come from teachers who are on a Plan of Improvement or those who have unsatisfactory evaluations on one or more of the past three annual evaluations.

Thirdly, teachers who are fully certified and teaching in their subject area will be considered for release based upon seniority.

Earlier in the meeting, trustees heard from two citizens. One, Lisa Hatcher, told trustees that her eighth grade student had been embarrassed and humiliated when she tried to charge her lunch after her mother forgot to leave her lunch money. The student was told she owed the cafeteria $5.25, later found to be only $3.40.

After that, her lunch was thrown away and the student was given only crackers and water, much to the student’s embarrassment.

Hatcher also complained about her older daughter’s Dual Enrollment calculus book which had the first 48 pages missing from it. She also said the older daughter was in a psychology class of 34 student where only 29 books were available.

“I have to wonder what SVCC and DCC would think about the material that is currently being used for dual enrollment,” she told trustees.

A second speaker, Frank Coleman, new president of the local chapter of the NAACP, addressed the board to say that his organization “wants to pointedly and publicly extend our hand of active support and partnership to his board and this school district, as you lead this community in the academic education of our children and the civic enhancement of our county.

“This is an organization desiring to stand and work for all people. We are here for you and have our arms opened wide to assist you in any way we can in our quest of providing a quality education for our children.”

Also during the Monday night meeting, ED-8 trustee Walter Potts complained about comments made during the Board’s budget work session on Jan. 7, which he did not attend. Potts complained about Superintendent of Schools Merle Herndon advising trustees that she needed to present a draft school budget for the coming year to county supervisors by Jan. 15.

“I don’t think we should give the Board of Supervisors any figures until we have to by law on March 30,” Potts said.

Herndon responded that she was simply responding to a request from County Finance Director Stephanie Jackson for the information which everyone understands is subject to change after state funding is announced and the county budget is finalized.



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I don't often agree with Walter Potts, but he is correct in this matter, first you cut LORP, then come up with a RIF and then ask for 3.3 mil from the BOS, this lady needs to go back to Campbell County.
We need to fight any tax increase. Guess they know they will need the money for the lawsuit they are going to loose over the LORP

Comments

A contract is a contract and should be honored accordingly. Finally, educators have decided to "stand up" for what is right, and I applaud them for that. I thought breaking a contract was illegal. What is your take on this Mr. Stoneman since you have experience in the law enforcement arena???


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