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Board makes policy, calendar changes

Caitlin Rickard • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:17 PM

The Wilson County Board of Education met Tuesday where it approved changes to the school calendar and the student transfer policy.

Parents who live in Wilson County may be permitted to request an assignment to a school other than the school their student was assigned according to certain guidelines.

Director of Schools Dr. Tim Setterlund said the policy was up for discussion because of recent state legislation requiring the board to have a policy essentially for open enrollment.

“This policy will allow parents to transfer students to schools where there is space available, and it allows us to put schools in a position where their academic programs are competitive with one another,” Setterlund said.

Board member Ron Britt said the policy change troubled him because there is no stipulation about athletics so students could transfer solely for athletic purposes.

Setterlund said the change would generate and support academic programs and also create encouragement for schools to develop unique strengths and programs.

“This would allow schools to vie for students academically, which is great for Wilson County schools,” Setterlund said. “I think the academic benefits far outweigh any recruiting that may go on for athletic purposes.”

Setterlund said as far as creating a stipulation that wouldn’t allow students to compete in athletics; he thought that wouldn’t be fair.

“If a student wanted to transfer to a school because they offered Japanese, I don’t think they should be denied the opportunity to participate in sports there,” Setterlund said.

Board chairman Don Weathers said he was willing to do whatever it took to improve academics, and he was willing to give the change a shot because of the merit in competition.

The policy change passed 3-2.

According to the policy change, first, a “Student Transfer Application” must be filled out and submitted within the transfer period of Aug. 15 through Sept. 30.

The only transfers that will be considered after this period are those with a change in custody or residence of the parent or guardian.

Second, if there were space available in a school, all transfers would be approved.

If requests were to exceed space available, transfers would be approved in priority form based on:

• employees of Wilson County Schools.

• students who have siblings already enrolled in the school.

• students requesting a course not offered at their base school.

• lottery.

All transfers that are approved would then be in effect until the student completes the exit grade at that school.

The transportation to school for student transfers would be the responsibility of the parent or guardian.

Currently, the only schools with space available to accept transfers are Rutland Elementary School, Lebanon High School, Watertown High School, West Elementary School, West Wilson Middle School and Wilson Central High School.

Student transfer applications can be found at the district office or on the schools website at wcschools.com.

Following changes to the transfer policy, the board also approved a calendar change for the 2013-14 school year.

The change only affects the last week of school and makes May 29 a half-day for students and a full workday for teachers.

Friday would be no school for students and a full workday for teachers.

Setterlund said this change will eliminate students coming to school for a half day simply to pick up their report cards.

“This will give a true half day of school and learning for the students,” Setterlund said.

Final report cards will no longer be picked up at the schools and would be available online through ParentConnect.

Those wishing to have a printed report card should provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the school. The schools would mail the printed report cards during the first week of June.

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