Interpretation's Date: March 28, 2008
by superintendent Dr. Steven L. Paine
Section: IV. Students


TO: Attendance Directors

FROM: Steven L. Paine, State Superintendent of Schools
DATE: March 28, 2008

RE: Inter-County Student Transfers

It is time for inter-county student transfer requests. I'd like to take this opportunity to review the procedure and address frequently asked questions. Please disseminate this information to others in your county who will be responding to public inquiries.

1. Parents seeking to enroll their child in a school located in another county will need to comply with the statutory requirements of W. Va. Code 18-5-16(b) and State Board Policy 7212.

A. The parent must first obtain the consent of the receiving county and the sending county. While frequently the receiving county accepts transfer requests, because the funding travels with the student, there are times that the receiving county will not wish to accept a request: If acceptance will cause the teacher/pupil ratio to be exceeded; or if the student has special needs that cannot be accommodated at the school sought.

B. Therefore, WVDE recommends that the parents make the requests to the sending and receiving county at the same time. Some parents are being told by the receiving county that it would not consider the request until the sending county rules on the request or until an appeal is made to the State Superintendent if the sending county denies the request. This is wrong information, because the parent can appeal a denial of the request by the receiving county as well as the sending county. Rather than delaying a decision on a parent's request, a receiving county should simply condition its acceptance of a transfer request upon approval by the sending county or upon the State Superintendent's grant of an appeal.

C. If the sending or receiving county denies the request, the parents should be informed of their right to appeal to the State Superintendent within 30 days.

2. Does a receiving county have an obligation to provide an education to the transferring student indefinitely?
A. Depends: Some counties have a policy that a transfer must be renewed annually. If they don't, the question is not readily answered. One viewpoint is that if a receiving county accepts a student, in the absence of a policy putting the parents on notice, the county cannot later decide to deny enrollment, and therefore the county should think carefully before agreeing to accept an out of county student. The other viewpoint is that there may be an unanticipated change in circumstance that would warrant refusing continued enrollment. To avoid any confusion, counties are strongly encouraged to clarify this issue by enacting a formal policy and/or by placing any limiting language on the face of its transfer application.

B. Please note: Rule 3.7 of Policy 7212 states:
"Any transfer approved by the State Superintendent shall remain in effect until and unless the parents make proper application to both the sending and receiving county boards of education to revoke the transfer prior to January 1 for the following school year."

However, if the receiving county experiences some unusual circumstances, it may apply to the State Superintendent to be relieved of such transfer. There is no language to this effect in the Policy, but in fairness, providing for a waiver of this permanent effect of a transfer appeal being granted makes sense.

3. May a County Board make a policy decision to deny all transfers without considering individual circumstances?

A. The statute and policy require both the County and the State Superintendent to consider individual factors and weigh them against the problem of loss of state funding and difficulty in getting levies passed. It would be helpful to all concerned if the counties would undertake to weigh the following factors:

-- whether the bus ride in the county of residence exceeds recommended times; -- whether the student has some legitimate connection with the receiving school, such as a sibling attending. (Note that if the parents have improperly enrolled a student by lying about their address, for example, this factor is inapplicable); -- whether there is some type of serious health issue that the receiving county is better equipped to handle, such as the student's doctor practicing near the receiving school; -- Note: Ordinarily, convenience to child care or work are not issues that weigh towards granting the transfer request; -- the aggregate loss of funding the sending county has suffered through these transfers; and difficulty in passing excess levy because parents with children attending school in other counties are not invested in their county of residence.

I hope this has been of assistance to you.


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